Archives For September 2015

If local conditions don’t allow viewing tonight’s total lunar eclipse or if you just can’t get out, try one of the several live webcasts. Seeing the eclipse would be much better “in person,” but watching via computer or TV is better than nothing!

NASA TV — both a webcast and a cable TV service the space agency’s coverage begins at 8:00 EDT through 11:30 PM. See it: or directly from Griffith Observatory at:

Slooh, the remote telescope company, offers their own 9:00 PM webcast at: which will also be carried by at:

The venerable “Sky & Telescope” magazine hosts a program beginning at 9:00 here:

And the University of Arizona will stream their coverage live at:

2007 Total Lunar Eclipse. Photo by James Guilford.

2007 Total Lunar Eclipse

UPDATE: ECLIPSE WATCH EVENT CANCELED: Due to very poor sky conditions we feel must CANCEL tonight’s planned lunar eclipse watch and stargazing event. Forecasts call for occasional breaks in the overcast but their expected rarity and random nature would make for a poor viewing experience. Rain chances increase at about the time when the eclipse reaches maximum. Since the eclipse can be viewed without the use of a telescope, checking the skies for occasional breaks would be wise. Use the eclipse timing chart below to check the sky at critical points. Still want to see the eclipse, even if it’s via computer, tablet, or television? Check this item for resources!

SPECIAL PUBLIC EVENT: VIEWING THE TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE. This public observing event will take place at the Hiram Village playing field, across from the Municipal Building and behind the Hiram Historical Society. Hours are 8:30 to 12:30. There is no fee and no reservations are required. Attendees may come and go at will — see timing chart below. Click here for Google Maps. The Observatory will NOT be open for this event.

During the eclipse we plan to have one or more telescopes available for viewing of the Moon and, as the sky darkens, visible stars, planets, and other wonders of the night sky. This is an outdoor event so visitors should dress accordingly; flashlights will help find the way but please point downward so as not to spoil others’ night vision. Of course, inclement weather or overcast skies will cancel our viewing of the eclipse. Special thanks to Mayor Lou Bertrand and the Village of Hiram for allowing our nighttime use of the playing field.

On the night of September 27, 2015 Earth’s shadow will cross the face of its Moon and viewers across North America will be treated to a total lunar eclipse. We, in Northeastern Ohio, are in luck this time as the entire eclipse will be visible to us and in “prime time” — a marvelous and relatively rare situation! Click here for a printable event flyer.

As the partial phase of the eclipse begins, at 9:07 PM, viewers will see the Full Moon gradually covered by the dark portion of Earth’s shadow. As the Moon moves deeper into shadow it will begin to glow a copper-red until at totality,10:11 PM, Luna will hang colorfully in our star-sprinkled sky. As the eclipse ends, the process reverses until in the wee hours of Monday, the Full Moon will brightly shine again. Click here for a detailed, somewhat technical chart.

If you cannot join us for the public event, use the table below and watch from your back yard — you don’t even need a telescope! All you need is to be able to see the Moon and we’ll all hope for clear skies!

Image: Table showing eclipse timing for September 27, 2015.

Please note that, on the Web and in the media, there may be confusion over the time and date of the eclipse event. The table above is correct for our Northern Ohio location.

Photo: Waxing Gibbout Moon. Photo by James Guiilford.

The Waxing Gibbous Moon – Night Before First Quarter

UPDATE: It was a confusing night with the sky quickly changing from clear to overcast, overcast to clear, and so on! In all 14 folks took a chance and came out. Trees and clouds blocked our view of the Moon on, of all things, International Observe the Moon Night! Patient visitors did receive views of the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Perseus Double Cluster. The last to leave observed the path of the Milky Way’s star stream overhead and the dark areas created by interstellar dust clouds!

Stephens Memorial Observatory of Hiram College will be open to the public on Saturday, September 19, from 9:00 to 11:00 PM as a local venue of International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN).

The InOMN is an annual, world-wide public engagement program that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of Earth’s Moon. Everyone on Earth is invited to join the celebration by attending an InOMN event — and uniting on one day each year to look at and learn about the Moon together. This year’s InOMN takes place just one week ahead of the much-anticipated total lunar eclipse taking place the night of Sunday, September 27.

No reservations are required and there is no admission fee for observatory public nights. Overcast skies or inclement weather at the starting time cancel the event and, in that case, the observatory will not open. For updates and more information, see the observatory’s Web site: or “@StephensObs” on Twitter.

The Observatory is located on Wakefield Road (Rt. 82) less than a quarter of a mile west of Route 700 in Hiram. There is no parking at the Observatory. Visitors may park on permissible side streets near the Post Office, a short distance east of the observatory.

Click here for a handy map showing the Moon as it will appear during InOMN with some interesting features highlighted!