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ALL THE LATEST NEWS, VIEWS AND STORIES FROM AROUND YOUR LOCAL AREA:JULY/AUGUST


Children Eat Free


Summer Holiday Special 12 Noon to 7pm Daily


available 17th July - 3rd September 2018 01900 829299 www.frederickscockermouth.co.uk LETTER FROM THE SOUTH...


*T&C One main course from the childrens menu when with a paying adult who spends £12.50 on Food.


We have a very special evening coming up very soon. Whatever you use to plan your time - a phone app, a wall planner, a calendar on the fridge or a good old- fashioned diary - mark this date, the 27th July. You really don't want to ‘have anything on’ that evening because there is going to be so much going on in the sky that you'll want to be outside, with a pair of binoculars, savouring every moment of it.


First of all tho, you need to do a little planning as far as a viewing location is concerned. You need to head off somewhere that is either high up, or has a clear view of the sky to the south- east, preferably both. Why? Because the most dramatic event of the night is going to occur low in the south-east after sunset and if your view in that direction is blocked by buildings, trees or hills you might miss it. So, do a bit of research before the 27th - use Google Earth or just drive around and find a good spot to head out to on the evening of the 27th.


Okay, let's assume you're at your observing place where you arrived about half an hour before sunset, to get settled. What then? As the Sun touches the horizon, turning the sky a rich golden blue, if you turn your back on it so you're facing roughly south-east you'll see the Full Moon just starting to come up - but it will


WWW.THECOCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK


look... odd, strange, very orange. Now, the rising and setting Moon often looks orange of course, because of atmospheric refraction but this time the Moon is orange because a total lunar eclipse is happening. Through the evening of the 27th, the Moon will be moving into and through the Earth's shadow which will turn it an orange-red colour. From here in the UK, the Moon will rise already totally eclipsed, which is both very rare and very unfortunate because it means we will miss half the eclipse. As it rises, the eclipsed Moon will look beautiful - and this is why you need your south-east horizon to be low and clear: anything in the way will delay Moonrise for you, possibly until the eclipse has actually finished. Although the eclipsed Moon will be noticeably orange to the naked eye, you'll enjoy a much better view through binoculars, if you have them.


Having spotted the rising eclipsed Moon, turn away from it briefly - so you're facing the opposite direction and you should see a bright ‘star’ low down in the west. This is actually, the planet Venus, the ‘Evening Star’. Look over to Venus' left and you'll see another bright ‘star’ over in the south-west. This is Jupiter. Now sweep your gaze a little further to the left and you'll see Saturn shining low in the south, looking like a gold-hued star. So, three planets stretched out across the sky from west to south.


Quite a treat!


Time to turn your attention back to the Moon and by 10.05 you will see a very bright orange- red star just climbing up from the horizon to the lower right of the orange Moon. This is Mars, and 27th July is a very special night for Mars and observers of Mars, because the planet will be at its closest to us for 15 years and will look much brighter and bigger in the sky than it has done since 2003. Between around 10.05 and 10.15 you will be able to see something very rare indeed - Mars, at its closest to us, shining close to a fully eclipsed Moon, almost certainly a genuine ‘Once in a lifetime event’. The lunar eclipse's total phase will end at 10.45, as it grows brought again from the left. By 11.25 the eclipse will be over completely.


So, there you go, that's why you want to put that date in your diary and keep it free no matter what. Assuming the sky is clear, lots of wonderful things will be visible to you at the same time.


Start crossing your fingers now...! Stuart Atkinson


Eddington Astronomical Society of Kendal http://cumbriansky.wordpress.com


ISSUE 427 | 19 JULY 2018 | 25


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