October Shut-Eye: A Double Dose of Eclipses!

October is almost here! This month brings us two great events, and no, one of them isn’t Halloween. But during this year’s month of spooks we get to see a lunar AND a solar eclipse! These are one of the more fun things to observe about space. They are fairly frequent, and their happenings are easily predicted. Plus, the moon is red during a lunar eclipse, like, how cool is that.

Let’s view these events chronologically. The first–the lunar eclipse–is a total one. It is set to happen in the early hours of October 8th. Times vary depending on where you are, and if you are interested, this can tell you the times. You might be wondering, where in the world can I view this spectacular event? Well, I’ll tell you; better yet, I’ll show you!

lunar eclipse october 2014
The deep red areas are for full visibility.

Now, our next event: the solar eclipse. Unlike the total lunar eclipse, the forthcoming solar one is only partial. It’s set for the early afternoon on the 23rd of October. Sadly, solar eclipses are much shorter and have a much smaller range of viewing areas. If you are wondering what time, this can tell you!

solar eclipse october 2014
The deep red get the best view, darn you Alaskans/Canadians.

Now, just in case you are wondering, or have any minor confusions, I will give you some small details about these events. So, come along with me.

Lunar eclipses are when the moon passes into the shadow of Earth. The moon passes our shadow all the time, but due to its inclination with the planet and sun, we do not see an eclipse every month. This only occurs when the moon, Earth, and sun are all in a line. Fun fact, an alignment of three celestial bodies is called a syzygy.

A solar eclipse happens when the three objects align as well; however, in this alignment, the moon passes between the Earth and the sun.

eclipse glasses
Eclipse glasses.

A word of caution if you plan on viewing a solar eclipse. As the moon only partially covers the sun for most it, there are still direct rays shining, so do not view it directly as it can cause permanent eye damage. You can buy special glasses, pictured above, or make your own! Just Google it and it could be a fun, DIY afternoon project.

Hope you learn and retain this info if you didn’t know it beforehand. Learn anything? Like anything? As usual, I’ll leave you with a cool image!

Total solar eclipse

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