January is a busy month for the Jack C. Davis Observatory:
The first blue moon total lunar eclipse in 150 years. A Western Nevada College grad returning to campus to give a lecture on Stellar Archaeology. Separating facts and fiction about Atlantis.
Today: Mike Thomas Lecture on Atlantis — Monthly lecturer Mike Thomas will give a presentation on Atlantis, separating fact from fiction on the lost, highly advanced culture referenced in Plato’s dialogue’s Timaeus and Critias. The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13 and is free to the public. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Jan. 27: WNC Grad Jeremiah Paul Lecture on stellar archaeology — From 6:30-7:30 p.m., Paul will lecture on stellar archaeology. Paul is nearing his Bachelor of Science degree with a physics major and astronomy minor at the University of Nevada, Reno. He will soon begin graduate studies in astronomy and astrophysics.
Jan. 31: Blue Moon Total Lunar Eclipse — The month’s featured attraction is a total lunar eclipse viewing party that will test astronomy lovers’ ability to function on little sleep.
Viewing at JCDO will run from 3:15 a.m. to 7 a.m. The lunar eclipse will be even more unique by the fact the day will double as a blue moon, marking the second full moon of the month.
“The eclipse will begin with shadow onset at 3:48 a.m. and reach totality at about 4:51 a.m.,” said Thomas Herring, JCDO director and WNC physics professor. “The moon will reach the center of Earth’s shadow at 5:29 a.m. and the total eclipse will end at 6:07 a.m. The moon will set behind the Sierras before the shadow completely moves off the moon’s disk.”
Herring said there will be telescope viewing available to the public, as well as video from JCDO’s 14-inch telescope on the big screen inside, weather permitting. There will also be a large pot of coffee on hand for the early-morning event.
The next lunar eclipse visible in Western Nevada will be Jan. 20, according to Herring.
The Observatory is at 2699 Van Patten Drive in Carson City.