Early morning event will be visible locally, weather permitting
SPRINGFIELD – A total lunar eclipse will be visible in the Springfield area, weather permitting, on Tuesday morning, August 28.
Locally, the event will begin at 3:51 a.m. (CDT) as the full moon sets in the west, making contact with the umbra (dark part) of the earth's shadow. The moon will become totally immersed at 4:52 a.m.; totality will last one hour and 31 minutes – until 6:23 a.m. Last contact with the earth's shadow will be at 7:24 a.m. (CDT).
Charles Schweighauser, professor of astronomy and physics at the University of Illinois at Springfield, explained that a total lunar eclipse can occur only when the moon is full – when it is on the opposite side of the sky from the sun.
"But the moon will never be completely dark," said Schweighauser, "because sunlight is bent through the earth's atmosphere onto the lunar surface." Schweighauser added that for viewers in Springfield the moon in totality will be hard to see in the morning twilight.
The UIS observatory will not be open for the event; however, Schweighauser said that if the weather is clear the eclipse can be viewed from anywhere the moon is visible using binoculars or a telescope, as well as with the unaided eye.