Total Lunar Eclipse
April 15, 2014
Bruce McCurdy’s report:
[We opened the RASC-powered Observatory at the TELUS World of Science] last night despite unpromising conditions. Good thing we did because we were extremely busy with at least a couple of hundred public. It was as multi-cultural a crowd as I can remember at the deck, visitors of all ages, backgrounds, accents, you name it.
All scopes but the solar scopes were put to use, even as our primary source for chunks of the evening was the webcast from Griffith Observatory.
We did get three bouts of at least partial clearing, two during totality and a third during the closing partial. In addition to the moon visitors had the opportunity to observe Mars and (eventually) Saturn, which drew the usual collection of gasps and wows.
First clearing occurred within a couple minutes of 01:15, exactly the time specified by Alister Ling in the microforecast he provided a couple of hours earlier. He didn’t say “around one” or “some time after one” but “1:15 +/-” and specified “a few minutes after the onset of totality” in a phone conversation with me around that time. I am/remain in awe.
Thanks to Frank Florian for another long night of service, first at the RASC meeting and then a solid five hours on deck. Frank got some nice shots of totality. As for volunteers, thanks to Shaun, Geoff, and Ross on deck (plus whoever I may have missed, it was too crowded in there to do the rounds, and my memory isn’t what it once was either). Larry and Mike/Mick (?) set up scopes on the meadow for overflow crowds. If I omitted someone please advise.
So that’s one down for the tetrad. Next two are in the later overnight hours which will add to the challenge, with the finale in 2015 September to be in the evening hours of a Sunday, by far the most accessible of the four with a good likelihood to be a major public event.
Here are photos by RASC members. Click to enlunate.