News

The Path to Public Service at SEAS

News

Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum

News

Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President

News

Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study

News

Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

Total Lunar Eclipse Draws Admiring Crowds

By Shannon A. Carty

Students gathered at various high points on campus last night to watch the last observable total lunar eclipse until the year 2000.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes directly between a full moon and the sun, thereby blocking out the light that illuminates the moon's surface.

The partial eclipse began at 9:12 p.m. when the moon entered the dark, central part of the Earth's shadow. The total lunar eclipse lasted from 10:19 p.m. to 11:29 p.m.

"It's definitely a dramatic event," said Michael Boyce '99.

Boyce observed the eclipse, along with about 100 fellow Quincy House residents, from the patio adjacent to the Master's residence.

Quincy House Masters Michael Shinagel and Marjorie North said the gathering, a traditional Quincy open house, was not originally scheduled to coincide with the cosmic event.

"We didn't plan for the eclipse, but we did extend the time so that students could stay and see it," Shinagel said.

Students expressed a mix of awe and excitement at the prospect of observing the eclipse from the open air garden adjoining the Masters' home.

"It's so neat to see the shadow of the earth," said a Quincy House junior, "I didn't believe it was really going to happen, but now I'm really excited."

"I'm definitely interested," said Quincy House resident Liana R. Tuller'99.

"It's something going on in the heavens," she said.

While some pessimists did circle the garden whispering "the sky is falling!" the majority of students clung to patio railings, blithely staring sky-ward.

"The roof garden is a great draw," said North, noting that the party quickly spread outdoors.

Daniel Green, an astronomer at the

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said that during an eclipse the moon disappears as far as the naked eye can see.

"It is amazing to see the bright full moon enter into the middle of totality and disappear," said Green, who has seen other lunar eclipses from Cambridge.

The next total lunar eclipse visible from Harvard will not occur until January 20, 2000, although there will be a very deep partial lunar eclipse on March 23, 1997.

Alan McRobert, an associate editor for Sky and Telescope magazine, said that while the moon will become invisible, the planet Saturn will take the main stage.

"A very interesting aspect of this eclipse is that the planet Saturn will be very close to the moon," said McRobert. "You will see it as the bright yellow-white star-like object about one thumb's width below the moon during the eclipse."

Although there were no special plans to view the eclipse from the Harvard Observatory, students in Quincy House were invited to the roof of the Master's Residence to view the lunar eclipse.

North said the eclipse theme, although originally unintended, was a welcome addition to last night's Quincy open house.

"All our open houses this year will have themes, but the eclipse [theme] was not planned," she said. "It just conveniently happened tonight so we decided to advertise the party as a 'dessert and eclipse extravaganza.'"

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske contributed to the reporting of this story.

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said that during an eclipse the moon disappears as far as the naked eye can see.

"It is amazing to see the bright full moon enter into the middle of totality and disappear," said Green, who has seen other lunar eclipses from Cambridge.

The next total lunar eclipse visible from Harvard will not occur until January 20, 2000, although there will be a very deep partial lunar eclipse on March 23, 1997.

Alan McRobert, an associate editor for Sky and Telescope magazine, said that while the moon will become invisible, the planet Saturn will take the main stage.

"A very interesting aspect of this eclipse is that the planet Saturn will be very close to the moon," said McRobert. "You will see it as the bright yellow-white star-like object about one thumb's width below the moon during the eclipse."

Although there were no special plans to view the eclipse from the Harvard Observatory, students in Quincy House were invited to the roof of the Master's Residence to view the lunar eclipse.

North said the eclipse theme, although originally unintended, was a welcome addition to last night's Quincy open house.

"All our open houses this year will have themes, but the eclipse [theme] was not planned," she said. "It just conveniently happened tonight so we decided to advertise the party as a 'dessert and eclipse extravaganza.'"

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske contributed to the reporting of this story.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags