Witness 2019's Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse and more celestial spectacles at Carnegie Science Center's Skywatch
Last updated 1/9/2019 at 9:27pm
The Red Planet; a sparkling, silver sliver; and a total lunar eclipse are among the astronomy marvels that stargazers can expect to see at Carnegie Science Center’s January SkyWatch events, presented by PPG. Weather permitting, Pittsburgh’s destination event for amateur astronomy will offer a prime view of Mars and a waxing crescent Moon on Sat., Jan. 12 at 7 and 9 p.m., as well as a stellar spot to check out a rare total lunar eclipse on Sun., Jan. 20 at 9 p.m.
SkyWatch begins with a virtual tour of the night sky. Travel through the evening’s changing skies from the comfort of Buhl Planetarium, and then head up to the observatory deck, if the weather allows, for hands-on exploration with our astronomy experts. Our top-notch telescopes provide a stunning perspective of the night sky.
The SkyWatch on Sun., Jan. 20 is especially noteworthy, as the Moon will be a Super Blood Wolf Moon, and a total lunar eclipse will occur. Here’s what that means:
Supermoon – The full Moon will be at its closest point of orbit to the Earth, also known as the perigee. The Moon will appear brighter and bigger than usual.
Blood Moon – When the Moon is fully eclipsed, it turns a reddish hue due to sunlight scattered by the Earth’s atmosphere.
Wolf Moon – The first full Moon of January is dubbed the Wolf Moon. The name stems from a belief held in Native American cultures and early Colonial times that the full Moon appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside of villages, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Total lunar eclipse – A total lunar eclipse occurs during a Full Moon when the entire Moon passes through Earth’s inner shadow.
Our astronomy experts will kick off the event at 9 pm with educational programming inside Buhl Planetarium before heading outside for the night sky action. At 10:33 p.m., the umbra of the shadow of the Earth will begin to fall upon the face of the Moon. This darkest part of the shadow will continue to spread across the Moon until it is fully covered, or in totality, by 11:41 pm. At 12:43 a.m., the shadow will begin to slowly leave the face of the Moon. SkyWatch will wrap up around 1:50 am, when the sequence runs in reverse until the umbra is no longer visible.
An eclipse does not occur every time there is a full Moon because the Moon’s orbit around the Earth doesn’t lie exactly in the ecliptic, the plane in which the Earth orbits the Sun. You won’t see another total lunar eclipse in eastern North America until 2022, and the Science Center is the perfect place to experience it. Chat with astronomy experts about the Moon, get an up-close view of the glowing planet with research-grade telescopes, and be inspired by the sky’s dazzling wonders.
SkyWatch tickets are $2 for Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh members and as an add-on to general admission/$4 for nonmembers. Reserve your tickets today for January’s SkyWatch events by calling 412-237-3400.