Lunar and solar eclipse to be seen during October

An example of a lunar eclipse. The lunar eclipse on the eighth could possibly look like this.
An example of a lunar eclipse. The lunar eclipse on Oct. 8 possibly looked like this.

PROVO — Utahns look forward to seeing both a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse during the month of October.

“Having two eclipses in one month is unusual, but it’s not rare,” said Patrick Wiggins, NASA-JPSL solar system ambassador to Utah.

The lunar eclipse occurred between 3:30 and 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 8. The solar eclipse will occur on Thursday, Oct. 23, between 3 and 6 p.m.

The eclipse of the moon on Oct. 8 could easily be seen without any special eye protection.

“I do recommend going somewhere without a lot of light pollution,” Wiggins said. “If you can get away from light pollution the colors during totality are much easier to see.”

The moon was covered by the Earth’s shadow from 4:24 a.m. until 5:24 a.m. While it’s possible for the moon to disappear completely during a lunar eclipse usually small amounts of light leak through. The color of the glow can possibly range anywhere from an-off white to a blood red, but there is no way to predict what color it will be beforehand.

The astronomical society at BYU did not do anything for the lunar eclipse due to the early morning hours but will have solar telescopes on the roof of the Eyring Science Center and in the quad between the Eyring Science Center and the Harold B. Lee Library during the solar eclipse on the 23rd.

“We have solar telescopes that have a special filter on them,” said Denise Stephens, the faculty adviser for the astronomical society at BYU. “Don’t use your own telescope; it will blind you.”

The BYU Store will be selling special solar sunglasses for the solar eclipse but will only get about 500, so it is first come, first serve.

An example of a partial solar eclipse. The eclipse on the 23rd could possibly look like this.
An example of a partial solar eclipse. The eclipse on Oct. 23 could possibly look like this.

“Looking at the sun is very bad idea unless you are properly prepared,” Wiggins said. “Be careful; I can’t stress that enough. The easiest and cheapest way is to get the sunglasses.”

Wiggins said he has two friends who looked at the sun without the right protection when they were children and have had to live the rest of their lives with injured eyes.

The solar telescopes the astronomical society will be using are safe because they have special solar filters that the BYU Store sunglasses also have.

“Be careful, but have fun,” Wiggins said. “And be sure to howl at the moon!”

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