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December 20, 2010
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View lunar eclipse at college observatory

For the first time since the 1600s, there will be a total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice tonight.

The Jack C. Davis Observatory at Western Nevada College will open at 6:30 p.m. this evening for a viewing of the eclipse.

"It is our intention to video the event, or a part of it if there are only brief breaks in the cloud cover," said Helaine Jesse, the college's vice president of development. "We will provide telescopes if there is an opportunity for viewing the eclipse. We will provide slideshow lectures this evening prior to the eclipse, and while waiting for breaks in the clouds."

The evening is free to the public.

However, the event may be canceled if there is a snowstorm.

The Earth will cast its shadow and totally engulf the moon from 11:41 p.m. tonight to 12:53 a.m. Tuesday.

The dimming of the moon begins at 9:27 p.m. and a subtle red glow will develop as the shadow of the Earth on the Moon gets darker. The lunar eclipse will be easily viewed with the naked eye, and volunteer members of the Western Nevada Astronomical Society will be available to answer any questions about the eclipse.

Attendees should be prepared for possible cold conditions and wear appropriate warm clothes.

The observatory is located at 2699 Van Patten Drive, Carson City, on the hill above the college.

For more information, call (775) 445-3000.   

Also, there will be no Saturday evening Star Parties the next two Saturdays, because one is Christmas and one is New Year. Saturday evening events will resume Jan. 8.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Dec 20, 2010 05:44PM Published Dec 20, 2010 05:42PM Copyright 2010 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.