Oh, what a night for lunar viewing

By KUE DAVIS

TUESDAY'S lunar eclipse was eagerly enjoyed in ideal conditions by Coffs Coast residents and experts alike.

Win Howard, President of the Coffs Harbour Astronomical Society, said that weather and timing of the eclipse made perfect viewing for the amazing phenomena.

"We were fortunate after the rain last week, and that it happened at quite a convenient time. Rather than taking place at two or three in the morning, it was perfect viewing time," he said.

After bringing their monthly meeting ahead a week in honour of the eclipse, Win and other members of the Coffs Harbour Astronomical Society set up at Bayldon Public School to enjoy the rare phenomena.

"It really is an amazing phenomena. It was the lunar eclipse that lead the Romans to conclude that the Earth is in fact round, and also allowed them to calculate the area of the moon," said Win.

Although he said that he has seen brighter, he also admitted that the phenomena was still well worth seeing.

"Over the years I have seen a lot brighter, but it was still amazing to watch," he said.

David Reneke, News Editor for Sky and Space magazine and Astronomy lecturer, was also impressed by the eclipse, and said that it lived up to its predecessor.

"It was a lot deeper in colour than I expected, but I would say it was just as good as seven years ago.

"We often see a deeper colour when there are certain global natural events happening. Pollutants in the atmosphere determine how much light scatter there is, and tends to see only the red light filter through.

"Having said that, it was a great sight, and not at all disappointing. All in all, it was really good," he said.

Mr Reneke also said that with the mounting concern for pollution and action being taken to minimise it, that the next eclipse should rival this one.

"I think the next eclipse will be slightly better and lighter in colour," he said.

The scene made for an amazing spectacle for Coffs Harbour residents, who had full view of the spectacular phenomena.

Beginning at 6.51 pm, the moon was fully immersed in the Earth's shadow by 7.52 pm, and all the action ended for the naked eye at around 10.20pm. Many people took advantage of the event, and set up vantage points at Beacon Hill and Bruxner Park to view the phenomena.

If you missed the eclipse this time around, you will be waiting until December in 2011 before you get a chance to view one again.



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