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AAAA News and Activities 2003

The Mars Year - 2003
Mars Day on TV - KTVT CBS Channel 11, Dallas
Welcome to Wired News
Wired News: Spending Green to See Red Planet
Annular Eclipse - May 31, 2003
Lunar Eclipse - May 15, 2003
Transit of Mercury - May 7, 2003
Mid-America Astrophysics Conference

Mars Hoax
Star Parties
Member Activities
Observing Awards
Messier Marathon
Leonid Meteor Shower

AAAA Members Observe
May 15, 2003 Lunar Eclipse

Here in Araraquara - Sao Paulo - Brazil, there was a cloudy sky during the lunar eclipse. However I was able to take a few photos through the windows between the clouds which I can share it with you.

Leo  Andriao, Brazil

Lunar Eclipse Photos by Leo Andriao, Junior
Araraquara, Sao Paolo, Brazil

Click on images to enlarge.
Adam Stuart captured a nice sequence of Lunar Eclipse photos from Miami, FL, which you can view on his online photo gallery.



Well, I was clouded out so bad that it was hard to decipher where the Moon even was.

Eugene Lanning in Nebraska

It was completely clouded out here in Dallas. I was not even fortunate enough to be able to "decipher where the moon was" through the clouds. Over night, it finally rained. This is typical weather for Dallas this time of year.

Friday, of course, was bright and sunny, as is to be expected for the day after a major astronomical event that was clouded out the night before!

Ed Flaspoehler, AAAA

In West Hartford, Connecticut, it started out cloudy, and then at 10:14 EDT the clouds slipped away, the moon appeared at about 45% into the umbra, and it only got better. Sorry you couldn't be here, but to tell you the truth, this is about the first celestial even in about 7 years I feel like I've had any luck.  I ended up taking about 3 pages of notes. 

I shot down to the golf course about 1/4 mile away and took the Astroscan and  12 x 62 binocs w/ me because they were easiest to transport in short order. W/ the Astroscan I was able to take in the amber color, especially at totality, while fighting the moon fought off the encroaching clouds. Totality arrived at precisely 11:14,  (though I'll tell you that about 2 minutes before totality the moon, at about 98% into earth's umbra, looked like a subdued version of the sun's diamond ring effect during a total solar eclipse) and I'll admit to a few events I'm still researching.  A couple very bright 'spots' on the western side, central, (I'm homing in on the crater(s) that were the likely sources), and one 'flash'. In my dreams I'd hoped to view a meteor(ite) striking the surface when earth's shadow crept over, but it was so fleeting, it may well have been my imagination. 

By the way, the unaided eye view wasn't too shabby either. About 2 minutes after totality there was a phenomena that looked like a peeling away of the gray/amber hue to a lighter gray/amber hue and I wondered if this was the Japanese Jack-o'-lantern affect I've read about. And then the occultation w/ a star that nearly occurred here (close to about 1/5th of a degree, or closer) and then, at precisely 11:40 the clouds covered the moon over and I didn't get to view it.  Something about the moon sliding over a star that still gets me jumping up and down and looking around for people to show it to, but they're never there. So all in all, I was thrilled w/ the viewing experience.  It went from 10:14 to 11:40 (the precise moment it was predicted totality would begin to recede) with about a 10 minute cloud-over at ~10:35. 

Looking forward to November's eclipse. 

p.s., I'll admit to finding it mildly amusing that my most consistent viewing partner and colleague ventured out to view the eclipse and scooted back to the safety of his house when he heard reports of a black bear in the woods near his house. I mentioned to him today that I couldn't recall the last time I heard of an astronomer being mauled by a black bear, but then, stranger things have happened, eh?

Keep looking up, and if you do, fall down gracefully!

-Mark Saegert in Connecticut

I live in Oregon .As you probably know Oregon is a very wet place! I did watch the eclipse, and I tried to get a few pictures. When the moon did rise we were under very cloudy skies. I got my lawn chair and 8" Dob out along with my binoculars and digital camera. I waited patiently and enjoyed the lovely evening skies . When the clouds did finally part the eclipse was half over !! It was a partial eclipse from my location . However I did get to enjoy about 10 minutes of observing the eclipse. It was very beautiful . I took a few pictures of the moon in the clouds but unfortunately not any through the eyepiece. Later as the evening wore on the skies cleared and were remarkably clear and sharp. I did take a few afocal pictures of Jupiter but I have not had time to edit them yet.

PS ! My new web site should be live on the internet a little later today ! Just finishing some editing on it . If you have time stop by and take a look. I would love to hear any ideas or suggestions that you may have for my new web site.

Kathy Z ~*Stargirl*~
web site: http://www.zendner.com/kathy/

Here in Spokane, WA we were all deliriously happy to see the eclipse! We set up at a local soccer field - a dozen scopes and three binocular set-ups.

As looming nimbus clouds from the west appeared to come closer, we appeared to be unsure why we were all gathered. There were storm clouds over to the east and what appeared to be rain over towards Idaho.

We persisted...the crowds were arriving...(Previous day I told a news reporter that "a few of us" would be setting up at the soccer field, and this morning's Spokesman Review said: "entire community invited.")

Anyway, we waited until after 20:14 PDT time, 20:30, 20:40...and we finally saw the moon rise over some hills to the southeast. It was in total eclipse here at moonrise, and rather hard to see in the haze on the horizon. In totality near the horizon the moon appeared brownish-gray. But as the moon rose higher it took on a more coppery hue, and the oohs and ahs began.

Around 21:20 as the moon moved out of total eclipse it was simply breathtaking to see the sunlit portion of the moon, and the reddish shadowy portion.

We were quite cold showing the moon and Jupiter to a crowd of approx. 300.  Saturn stayed hidden by those dreadful clouds. A 25mph wind with higher gusts kept the windchill at about 30'F. We used the cars as windbreaks, but it was cold and got colder.

We observed: Earth are round! (or it would seem so by the shadow)  Pi r square.

Around 22:30, the clouds were closer, so we packed it in.

I noted--while waiting for the moon to rise, there was almost a silence, a respect. Strange... Here were scores and scores of people gathered to observe an event that probably filled our ancient ancestors with awe. There was a little bit of that "awe" here, too, as we all waited to greet this eclipse.

Mary Singer in Spokane, WA

Our event was held at Adams Middle School, 833 W. Tarrant Rd. in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Students participated in hands-on mirror grinding class. They helped rough grind a eight-inch mirror for a school telescope and plans are currently being made for a "Mars/Moon observing and hands-on student scope building party!"

Chris Miller gave students door and contest prizes!  They include 6 pairs of tickets to The Science Place, 2 tickets to the Ft. Worth Museum of Science & History and the OMNI Theater. Also, lots of goodies and posters from NASA!

Skies were cloudy. However, a hole opened just large enough  to view Jupiter for about 45 minutes before disappearing behind clouds. To our amazement, a new hole opened and we were able to view the Moon! We hurried everyone through line for a quick look, and just as we finished - the Moon bobbled in and out of the clouds then disappeared is if it were a curtain close in a cosmic play.

I took several photos of the event with my "old 35mm camera" and prints should be ready Tuesday night.

Thomas Williamson in Texas

Eclipse Data for Mid-West USA

Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 01:05:16 UT (08:05:16pm CDT)
Partial Eclipse Begins: 02:02:42 UT (09:02:42pm CDT)
Total Eclipse Begins: 03:13:40 UT (10:13:40pm CDT)
Greatest Eclipse: 03:40:01 UT (10:40:01pm CDT)
Total Eclipse Ends: 04:06:22 UT (11:06:22pm CDT)
Partial Eclipse Ends: 05:17:20 UT (12:15:20am CDT)
Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 06:14:47 UT (01:14:47am CDT)

Totality will occur with the moon around 25-30 degrees high.

Webcasts of the May 15 Total Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse
May 15, 2003

  • A Total Lunar Eclipse will occur on Thursday, May 15, 2003, as the Full Moon passes through the darkest part of the Earth's shadow, called the umbra.
  • Totality starts about 10:15 p.m. CDT, 11:15 EDT. The Full Moon, which rises at sundown, will be above the eastern horizon in the zodiacal constellation of Libra as it is eclipsed. Fortunately, this eclipse is early in the evening when most people are up. Let your kids stay up to see this rare astronomical event.
  • The full eclipse can be seen in the eastern and central parts of North American and in South America. Partial Phases can be seen in the western North America, where the eclipse will already be in progress as the moon rises, and in Europe, which will see the moon setting during the eclipse. This eclipse will not be viewable for observers in Asia and Alaska.
  • During the eclipse, the Moon will appear red or other sunset-like colors, an effect that is caused by sunlight that is filtered and bent by the Earth's atmosphere before it reaches the Moon.
  • Observers who use small telescopes or binoculars will be able to view individual craters, peaks and other formations on the moon as they pass through the Earth's shadow.

Click HERE to see AAAA photos from the Lunar Eclipse of January 20, 2000

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