UT Hosts Eclipse Watch Jan. 20

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee Physics and Astronomy Department will host a public viewing Jan. 20 of 2000’s first lunar eclipse.

The eclipse watch begins at 9:30 p.m. on the roof of the Nielsen Physics Bldg.

Paul Lewis, head of the department’s astronomy outreach, said Earth’s shadow will completely cover the moon from 11:05 p.m. until 12:22 a.m.

“If weather permits, this should be a spectacular eclipse,” Lewis said. “The moon will be high overhead when totality begins at 11:05 p.m. This should be a bright eclipse that should make the moon appear to turn a reddish hue as totality progresses.”

Lewis said the red color is caused by long wavelengths of light from the sun passing through the atmosphere and reflecting off the moon. Shorter wavelengths scatter in our atmosphere and cannot be seen, he said.

The first signs of the lunar darkening will begin about 9:30 p.m., Lewis said. Though the eclipse is visible to the naked eye, UT will provide telescopes for more detailed viewing, he said.

Parking is free and available in lots 1, 2 and 3 on The Hill after 9 p.m. For more information contact Lewis at 865-974-7815.