Total Lunar Eclipse alert!
You don't want to miss this: This Wednesday night, a full lunar eclipse will take place, with totality happening between 10 p.m. and 10:52 p.m, when the shadow-covered moon should take on a reddish glow. Our fingers are crossed that the weather will not spoil the show. Right now, it's looking iffy. There is a 20 percent chance of snow showers Wednesday evening, with the latest National Weather Service forecast saying it will clear up after midnight.
The eclipse begins at 8:35 p.m. and ends at 12:09 am. There won't be another total lunar eclipse in New York City until December 2010.
If astronomy's your thing, you might want to join members of the Amateur Astronomers Association, who will be out in the cold watching the whole thing. Over the course of the night, this is what youll see. Theyll be out at several New York locations with telescopes and binoculars. Heres where to go:
Carl Schurz Park in Manhattan, overlooking the East River at 86th Street (4,5,6 to 86th Street)
Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, the now out-of-service airport. (No. 2 train to the last stop, transfer to Q53 bus)
Park Slope at Seventh Avenue and Ninth Street (F to 7th Ave)
Northern Boulevard and 82nd St in Jackson Heights, Queens, in front of the firehouse. (E,F,V,R,7 to 82nd Street)
All these meetings are free and open to anyone, and the club members will have telescopes, binoculars and cameras on hand.
However, if you want to get your own telescope, Richard Rosenberg of the Amateur Astronomers Association, has some advice.
You can get a usable telescope for a few hundred dollars, but you can also get junk for that price, Rosenberg says. Go to a knowledgeable retailer, generally a photographic supplies store like B&H or Adorama in NYC. Some quality name brands of telescopes are Orion, Celestron and Meade. I would advise reading some of the material on buying a telescope available on Sky & Telescope magazine's Web site."
-- Laura B. Berger
Photo: Phases of the March 3, 2007, lunar eclipse, as photographed in Manhattan. Via lobo solitaire's Flickr photostream.