image of University of North Alabama Observatory

UNA Observatory will Open for Partial Lunar Eclipse

Nov. 17, 2021



Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

By Michelle Rupe Eubanks
For the Office of Media and Public Relations

FLORENCE, AL - A partial lunar eclipse will take place early on the morning of Nov. 19, and the Planetarium at the University of North Alabama will have a public observing event with telescopes for people to view and photograph the eclipse from 1-4 a.m.

“Lunar eclipses occur when the full moon passes into the shadow of the Earth,” said Dr. Mel Blake, Planetarium Director and Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy. “The result is that the Moon slowly goes from a full Moon to a dark red color and back to completely full in a few hours. Many people call this the ‘Blood Moon’ for the red appearance. This is caused by red sunlight passing through the Earth’s atmosphere and hitting the Moon’s surface and reflecting back to us.”

Blake said the region will see a partial eclipse, with 97 percent of the Moon in Earth’s shadow, with the event taking place in stages as follows:

The first stage of the eclipse is the penumbral stage, when from the point of view of an observer on the Moon, the Earth only blocks part of the Sun. This stage tends to be subtle, with most observers noticing that the Moon looks a little dimmer than usual.

The partial-eclipse phase is next, when the shadow of the Earth slowly moves across the Moon, giving the appearance of a bite being taken out of the Moon, which is the result of the curvature of the Earth’s shadow. This is often when the casual observer will take note of something happening.

“In the case of the Nov. 19 eclipse, there will be no total eclipse phase,” Blake said. “Historically, lunar eclipses were thought to be harbingers of doon, heralding the death of a ruler or a coming disaster. Those who will to view the Nov. 19 eclipse will just need to be prepared to lose some sleep.”

The penumbral stage is set to begin at 12:20 a.m. The partial eclipse will begin at 1:18 a.m. and end at 4:47 a.m., with maximum eclipse at 3:30 a.m. The entire partial eclipse will be visible from Alabama

Blake said no particular equipment is needed to observe a lunar eclipse, although a telescope or binoculars will enhance the experience.

Image of UNA observatory

About The University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. UNA Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Big South Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/