Pic 1 - Dave Reneke

Dave Reneke with telescope poised for another exciting lunar eclipse

Get set for an astronomical experience like no other right across Australia. We’re going to be treated to a total lunar eclipse on Wednesday evening, 8 October 2014, with the Moon expected to take on an eerie ‘reddish glow.

This is due to sunlight being filtered by the Earth’s polluted atmosphere falling on the Moon. Airborne ash from the recent volcanic eruptions and existing airborne pollution will likely add to the darkening effect.

“Lunar eclipses are one of the most spectacular sights in astronomy and one not to be missed,” said well known Australian astronomer and writer for Australasian Science magazine, David Reneke. Lunar eclipses occur when Earth gets between the Sun and the Moon, casting a shadow.

“We’ll get a good view right across Australia” David said. “The Moon will start to move into the Earth’s shadow a little after 8.20pm on the east coast with totality, or maximum eclipse, at 9.55pm. This is when you get the spectacular reddish colour, so put your camera onto a tripod and take a photo.”

Past lunar eclipse showing the shade of red the moon can often display.   Credit: Noel Munford

Past lunar eclipse showing the shade of red the moon can often display. Credit: Noel Munford

David is an astronomy writer, lecturer and teacher and a featured guest on over a dozen ABC and commercial radio stations each week across Australia. The eerie part starts when the Moon’s leading edge first enters the earth’s shadow, and the eclipse begins.

“Astronauts on the Moon would see an amazing sight,” David said. “They’d actually see the Earth eclipsing the Sun! They would see a bright red ring around the Earth as they watched all the sunrises and sunsets happening simultaneously around the world.”

David said that unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are completely safe to watch. You don’t need any kind of protective filters. You can watch the lunar eclipse with nothing more than your own two eyes, but get away from any bright lights OK

What a photo opportunity! Those with a smart phone can attach it to their home telescopes for an unusual souvenir. “Why not make a night of it, grab the family and friends and get out under the stars, Dave said. ‘You won’t be sorry!” For more details please see Dave’s website www.davidreneke.com