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Amid a partial government shutdown that has left most of NASA's staff furloughed, the space agency published a total lunar eclipse guide complete with educational tools for classrooms. The tools will help the American public better understand what will happen in their skies this Sunday (Jan. 20) when the moon passes through Earth's shadow, an event potentially visible to millions across North and South America.
Staff at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, released a "Teachable Moments" webpage to prepare viewers for the upcoming celestial occurrence. During the eclipse, crimson and orange colors will engulf the moon as it travels through Earth's shadow.
Conditions - Night - Lunar - Eclipse - NASA
If there are poor weather conditions on the night of the lunar eclipse, NASA officials recommend visiting the website TimeandDate.com for a feed of the event. We will also host eclipse webcasts here at Space.com. [Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse of 2019: Complete Guide]
The major stages of the total lunar eclipse of Jan. 20-21, 2019 are shown in this Sky & Telescope graphic. Times are listed in EST.
NASA - Tools - Lunar - Eclipse - Moon-observation
NASA also published educational tools, including lunar eclipse and moon-observation worksheets, that kids can work through.
NASA JPL educational technology specialist Lyle Tavernier outlined what to expect from Sunday evening (Jan. 20) to early Monday morning (Jan. 21). Tavernier described Earth's shadow as cone-shaped with two regions of darkness: the penumbra and the umbra. The shell of the cone is the penumbra, and it is the region that the moon first enters.
Viewers - North - South - America - Face
To viewers in North and South America, the lunar face "will dim very slightly for the next 57 minutes as it moves deeper into the penumbra," Tavernier wrote. The moon will begin entering the deeper shadow region, the umbra, at about 10:33 p.m. EST on Sunday (7:33 p.m. PST).
"Some say that during this part of...
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