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Barlow stays up late to offer views of lunar eclipse

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Photo of Barlow's interior On Tuesday, April 15, the Barlow Planetarium at the UWFox will open its doors in the middle of the night to give the community a chance to view the upcoming lunar eclipse through the lens of its telescopes.

This is the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses that will be at least partially visible from northeast Wisconsin in the next 17 months, and of the four – April 15 will be the best and most complete.

Unlike solar eclipses that happened during the day and involve the Sun directly, lunar eclipses occur at night during a full moon and are completely safe to view without any extra safety considerations.

In addition to viewing the eclipse through the Barlow telescopes, the planets Saturn (always a crowd pleaser) and Mars will be in the sky. Mars will be just one week past its latest opposition and its best opposition since 2007. Summertime constellations – like Scorpius, Hercules, Aquila, Cygnus and Lyra – as well as their celestial treasures will also be visible.

The schedule of events is as follows:

  • 12 a.m. – Planetarium show Chasing the Ghost Particle
  • 12:58 a.m. – Moon begins to enter the umbra, the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow
  • 1:15 a.m. – Planetarium show Chasing the Ghost Particle
  • 2:06 a.m. – Moon completely inside the umbra
  • 2:20 a.m. – Planetarium show Chasing the Ghost Particle
  • 2:45 a.m. – Full Moon (mid-eclipse)
  • 3:24 a.m. – Moon begins to exit umbra
  • 4:33 a.m. – Moon completely exits the umbra
Admission (includes telescope viewing and a planetarium show) is $5/person for non-Barlow Planetarium members, and $4/person for Barlow Planetarium members. Since this program is very weather dependent, tickets are necessary and only available at the door. The box office opens at 11:30 p.m. on Monday, April 14.