Get your binoculars ready! A full moon, an eclipse, and a comet will all be passing through the night sky late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
A "penumbral" eclipse isn't a full lunar eclipse, and is more subtle, but still visible to the human eye. It occurs when the moon moves through the outer part of the Earth's shadow. In North America, this will be most visible at moonrise, at 7:43 p.m.
Early tomorrow morning, a total lunar eclipse, or "blood moon," will grace the skies of much of Michigan. The eclipse itself will span several hours, though total lunar coverage, in which the moon takes on a reddish hue, will last only about five minutes.
Lunar eclipses occur when the earth slides between the sun and moon, obstructing the light that normally illuminates our moon. For those viewing from Michigan, the eclipse will start at 5:00 am, with peak lunar coverage occurring at around 7:00 am.
Star gazers in Michigan are preparing for a rare occasion Tuesday night when the path of the planet Venus can be seen crossing the sun.
The event is known as the transit of Venus and it only happens, in pairs, every hundred years or so. The next transit of Venus isn’t for another 100 years.
I stumbled across the transit while gulping down an awesome new beer at one of my favorite spots in Benton Harbor, The Livery Microbrewery.
I chose a Venusian Ale for the ingredients. I’m a sucker for “Michigan made” so the blend of “Michigan Red Wheat malts meet all Northern Michigan hops and 60# of Dark Michigan Honey” was right down my alley. Then co-owner Leslie Pickell told me all about the beer made especially for their transit of Venus viewing party – complete with an awesome art show inspired by the transit AND a keg-time-capsule for the people alive during the next transit.
Once I started looking around, I discovered dozens of viewing parties across the state. Here's a short list:
Well, I woke up... the Earth's shadow is passing over the moon right now. NASA says it'll be in full eclipse starting at 2:41 a.m. and then the shadow will start slipping off the moon at 3:53 a.m.
Welcome to the shortest day of the year! Now... time for bed.
December 20th, 1:12 p.m.
It's not as special as a solar eclipse, which happens in one spot (say in Detroit, MI) around once every several hundred years, but a lunar eclipse is still pretty cool. Even if it does happen around twice a year.