Cassini Burns into Saturn After Grand Finale | Friday Sept 15

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will plunge into Saturn on September 15, incinerating itself after 20 years in space.  Cassini grand finale ends on September 15th as it will burn into Saturn. It’s photos of Saturns rings are the clearest we have ever seen. Continue reading

Observing and Understanding Lunar Eclipses

 

lunar eclipse

A lunar eclipse is an interplay between celestial motions, and the reflection, refraction and scattering of sunlight. Total lunar eclipses are beautiful events, and can be simply enjoyed for their own sake, or, whether with the unaided eye, binoculars, or a small telescope, are opportunities to do some basic science. Large telescopes confer no great advantage in viewing lunar eclipses.

Lunar Phases and Motions

Normally, the Moon shines by reflecting unaltered sunlight. A common misconception is that lunar phases are somehow caused by the shadow of the Earth falling onto the Moon. In reality, since the Moon is in orbit around the Earth, the Moon’s phases are the result of changing viewing angle of the Moon as it orbits the Earth once every 29.5 days.

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Thanks to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for the permission to share this article.