Don&#39t Miss the Lunar Eclipse
The Oak Ridge Isochronous Observation Network, Inc. was happily lured to do some sidewalk astronomy for coffee. You will likely find amateurs out and about for this lunar eclipse.
(Credit: David Fields)

Many astronomy clubs have activities planned for viewing the upcoming eclipse on Wednesday, February 20th. Below are some of the activities that Night Sky Network clubs have planned in the past. Of course, the last lunar eclipse visible from the US happened early in the morning, but this one will be in the evening and a perfect time for viewing.

Marni Berendsen of the Mount Diablo Astronomical Society held a Neighborhood Eclipse Watch last August from her California home. It sounds like it was a hit too: "The evening before the eclipse, I encouraged my neighbors to come out around 4 a.m. for a look at the lunar eclipse. Several of them emerged from their houses in bathrobes and sweats. Besides watching the Moon and demonstrating what was going on, we toured a few of the constellations and Mars. After her teenage son went back to their house, one neighbor confided how much this meant to her son. 'I can't think of ANYTHING that would have gotten him out of bed at 4 in the morning!'"

In Georgia, Becky Lowder and the Statesboro Astronomy Club helped students from Georgia Southern University hold a moon watch during the last eclipse. Even with the fog, everyone learned a lot about eclipses and telescopes. "A physics major organized a group of physics majors and other university students living in Watson Hall dorm on campus for a total lunar eclipse party. I brought my telescope, binoculars, handouts, and we watched it for a few minutes until the fog rolled in right at totality. While waiting for the fog to lift, we had fun using the moon maps and other handouts discussing the lunar eclipse. Unfortunately the fog never lifted, but we had fun eating 'Moon Pies' and fruit juice. I also gave a lesson about telescopes until the dawn."

But college students didn't have all the fun. In Maine, the Astronomical Society of Northern New England held an event for the senior astronomy class. Joan Chamberlin tells us: "These high school students already knew what caused solar eclises, but I had some very creative causes for lunar eclipses given to me. They have not yet covered eclipses in their course. The hand on demonstration is great because it makes it concrete. They seemed to be having quite a good time. After that, they got to look at the sun's prominences through the telescope with an H-Alpha filter."

While you can see the lunar eclipse from anywhere, it is fun to join a group of dedicated astronomers who can answer your questions and provide a close-up look with their telescopes. To find a club close to you, click here .

For more information on the eclipse, go to:
http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/eclipse.html