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TONIGHT: Total Lunar Eclipse Party at the Griffith Observatory

Posted By Karen Young On December 20, 2010 @ 12:29 am In Activities,Family,My Daily Find | No Comments

BY MY DAILY FIND STAFF

Here’s a chance to see something that won’t occur for another millennium and which hasn’t appeared this high in the sky in 1,591 years — a totally eclipsed moon!  Rain or shine, the Griffith Observatory is having a party TONIGHT, December 20, to celebrate the last total lunar eclipse of the decade by opening its doors to the public from 8 pm to 1:30 am.  The moon appears so high at this time because it coincides with Winter Solstice — the shortest day and the longest night of the year — and the beginning of winter.

The moon will be brown or red instead of yellow under the total lunar eclipse. Photo: Griffith Observatory

The moon is normally illuminated by the sun. During a total lunar eclipse, the full moon passes through the shadow created by the Earth blocking the sun’s light. Some indirect sunlight will still manage to seep through and give the moon various colors of red and brown, instead of the usual yellowish glow. The exact time the total eclipse will occur is 11:41 pm PST. The totality phase — when the moon is entirely inside Earth’s shadow — will last a little over an hour.  The entire show is about 3 1/2 hours, so best to get to the Observatory when it opens to take full advantage of this once in a lifetime experience.

Special events and programs include: Samuel Oschin Planetarium shows (there is a nominal charge for planetarium show tickets) and free lectures about the lunar eclipse  held  in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon. Free telescopes will be set out on the lawn area.  Additional presentations will also be held during key eclipse moments by Griffith Observatory Director, Dr. E.C. Krupp and Councilmember Tom LaBonge will be on hand.

Griffith Observatory is located at: 2800 East Observatory Road Los Angeles, CA 90027 (213) 473-0800

The entire process is 3 1/2 hours , but the total eclipse begins at 11:41 pm PST. Photo: Griffith Observatory

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