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Lunar Eclipse Observation

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On January 20, 2000, the Mosquito Hill Nature Center and the Fox Valley Astronomical Society at the University of Wisconsin - Fox Valley is co-sponsoring a very special observation: a total lunar eclipse. The observation of this exciting event is being staged at the Mosquito Hill Nature Center (New London, WI), from 8:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.

The "eclipse preview" is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m., inside the Mosquito Hill Interpretative Building. The outside observations begin at 9:00 p.m., with the "partial eclipse." The "total phase" begins at 10:05 p.m.; the "mid-eclipse" begins at 10:43 p.m.; and the "total phase" ends at 11:22 p.m.

There is a $2.00 admission fee for the program at Mosquito Hill. Reservations are requested, in order for the staff and volunteers to be able to estimate how many participants are going to attend this very special event.

According to Dr. John Beaver, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UWFox, "every 5 1/2 months the moon passes through the same plane that holds the sun and Earth. And so, during these 'eclipse seasons,' a lunar eclipse occurs at full moon (and a solar eclipse at new moon). This year's eclipse seasons occur in January, July, and December, and there will be six eclipses in all: two of the moon and four of the sun. But of these six, only two are visible from Wisconsin: the January 20 lunar eclipse, and a partial eclipse of the sun next Christmas Day."

Jim Anderson, Naturalist at Mosquito Hill Nature Center, feels that "since we have become more involved in astronomy programs for the public, it's wonderful that so many naturally occurring astronomical phenomena can be observed in central Wisconsin."

"Mosquito Hill Nature Center is a perfect location to observe these phenomena because of the absence of light pollution. The Nature Center has always been fortunate to have a number of volunteers who make themselves available for events like this," Anderson states. "We welcome Dr. Beaver and the Fox Valley Astronomical Society, who suggested that we collaborate on this program."

The staff at Mosquito Hill Nature Center and members of the Fox Valley Astronomical Society, with Dr. Beaver, will be on hand to assist with on-going commentary during the lunar eclipse. Several quality telescopes will also be available to assist in viewing the lunar spectacular.

For individuals interested in photographing the lunar eclipse, an "eclipse photography workshop" is being offered at the campus of the University of Wisconsin - Fox Valley's Barlow Planetarium on January 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. Limited seating is available on first-come, first-seated basis. More information about this workshop can be obtained by calling 920-832-2667.

The Barlow Planetarium is located at 1478 Midway Road, Menasha, between S. Oneida St. on the east, S. Appleton Road on the west, and just south of Hwy. #441.

Mosquito Hill Nature Center is located 1.5 miles east of New London, just off Hwy. S at the end of Rogers Road. Reservations for the eclipse activities can be made by calling Mosquito Hill Nature Center, 920-779-6433.

For more information, contact:

John Beaver, UW-Fox Valley

920-832-2667

OR

Jim Anderson, Mosquito Hill Nature Center

920-779-6433

Posted 1/18/2000