Museum Telescopes Open For Supermoon Total Eclipse

Supermoon coming to the skies over New Mexico Jan. 20. Courtesy/NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
ALBUQUERQUE  Another Supermoon Total Eclipse is coming to the skies over New Mexico Jan. 20.
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science’s will open its doors 8:30-11:30 p.m. for visitors to fully appreciate the astronomical coincidence happening in the sky that evening after sunset (weather permitting).
A lunar eclipse happens when the moon moves into the Earth’s shadow and reflects its dark, red interior color. They don’t happen often because normally the moon moves slightly over or under the shadow when it’s on the far side of the Earth from the sun.
The next total lunar eclipse won’t happen until May 26, 2021, so this will be the last chance to experience this phenomenon for over two years. Jan. 20, the moon will also be relatively close to the Earth while it’s full, which has recently become known as a Supermoon.
The entire eclipse will be visible from New Mexico and the moon will be high in the sky, so they’ll be no need to seek a location with a view of the horizon.
For a closer look at the moon as it slides into the red shadow, telescopes provided by the Museum and Albuquerque Astronomical Society will be available around the Museum grounds and also on the Observatory Deck. A live video stream will show the eclipse from other locations around the world. Informational videos, posters, and handouts will explain the term Supermoon, what causes eclipses, and why eclipses make the moon turn red.
“In addition to marveling at the moon’s transformation, we may also look at other wonders in the sky through the available telescopes” Museum Space Science Director Jim Greenhouse said.
Times for the stages of the eclipse Jan. 20:
  • Partial Eclipse Begins – 8:34 p.m.
  • Total Eclipse Begins – 9:41 p.m.
  • Maximum Eclipse – 10:12 p.m.
  • Total Eclipse Ends – 10:43 p.m.
  • Partial Eclipse Ends – 11:50 p.m.
The observing part of this event will be canceled if the sky is cloudy. No reservations are required and admission is by donation. Feel free to come in your pajamas (assuming you don’t mind being seen in public that way), but check the weather and dress appropriately for being outside in the cold.