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May 14, 2003

Kathleen Burton
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650/604-1731 or 650/604-9000
E-mail: Kathleen.M.Burton@nasa.gov



RELEASE: 03-37AR

NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS
: Members of the news media are invited to interview Brian Day, Peninsula Astronomical Society (PAS) chairman of the Foothill College Observatory and technical lead in the education division at NASA Ames Research Center, on Thursday, May 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. PDT. Day will discuss that evening’s full lunar eclipse.

NASA EDUCATOR TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE

On May 15, the first total lunar eclipse in more than two years will provide a fascinating 3-1/4 hour spectacle for skywatchers in North and South America, Europe and Africa.

In northern California, the celestial event will begin just after 8 p.m. PDT when the moon will gradually rise, already in partial eclipse. The eclipse will reach its full darkness (called “totality”) at 8:14 p.m. and the total eclipse will last until 9:07 p.m. Following this, the Earth’s shadow moving across the moon will be visible until 10:17 p.m.

“People should position themselves with as clear a view of the eastern horizon as they can get,” said NASA educator and amateur astronomer Brian Day. According to Day, the beginning of the eclipse may be difficult to see at first because the sky will still be light; but conditions will improve as the sky darkens. Although skywatchers can observe the lunar eclipse with the naked eye, binoculars or a small telescope will enhance the spectacular view dramatically.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon form a straight line in space and the full moon passes through Earth’s shadow.

For more information about the eclipse visit: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/lunar.html

For images of lunar eclipses, visit: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap960926.html

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