WCU astronomers to host eclipse viewing party Sept. 27

"LunarEclipse" GIF by Mansour Nasiri - nasiriphotos.com

“LunarEclipse” GIF by Mansour Nasiri – nasiriphotos.com

Western Carolina University will host a lunar eclipse viewing event at the Jackson County Airport on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 27.

Astronomy faculty from WCU will set up telescopes for viewing the eclipse. The viewing party will begin about 9 p.m. and end around 11:30 p.m.

Lunar eclipses occur when the moon, Earth and the sun are aligned so that the shadow of the Earth is cast on the moon. The September lunar eclipse is a total eclipse, which means that the moon will be completely covered by the Earth’s shadow.

“Telescopes will be set up to observe the moon during the eclipse, and people will be able to observe it with the naked eye,” said Paul Heckert, WCU professor of astronomy and physics. “People who are interested can also watch the eclipse from their homes, as no special optical aid is needed.”

Partial eclipse should begin about 9:07 p.m., with total eclipse occurring at about 10:11 p.m. and continuing until 11:23 p.m. Partial eclipse will continue until 12:27 a.m.

Heckert is hosting the event with his colleague Enrique Gomez, associate professor of astronomy and physics.

The lunar eclipse viewing event is free and open to the public. If the evening is completely overcast or if it is raining, the event will be canceled.