It’s the season of Halloween, national elections and baseball’s World Series — why not toss in a total lunar eclipse to really stir up superstitious Iowans? Iowa State University astronomy professor Steve Kawaler says tonight’s sky show should be super — that is if clouds don’t cover it up. He says the full lunar eclipse is the easiest astronomical phenomenon to see since it happens at night during a full moon. No special viewing goggles or telescopes are needed. Kawaler says to go outside tonight around 9:30 or 10 P.M. and find the moon — it’ll be a full moon but will be dimmer and should be a coppery-red color. He explains why that color change occurs. During a full lunar eclipse, the earth is between the moon and the sun but light from the sun still reaches the moon by bending, or refracting, around the earth through the atmosphere. He says if you were sitting on the moon watching this, it would be like sunset colors ringing the earth. Kawaler says this event might make some people uneasy, taking the eclipse as a sign of bad luck or evil. This is the first time a World Series game will be played beneath a lunar eclipse and with Halloween and the elections just ahead, he says “this is a very rich season for omens.” The eclipse should begin around 8:15 P.M. will be at total eclipse between 9:23 and 10:45, and will be fully over just before midnight. Public viewings are being held at several locations across Iowa, including the Drake Observatory in Des Moines.
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