Students come together below stars in awe of Sunday’ s lunar eclipse


Over a hundred students gathered under the stars at the Rice Creek Field Station to witness the rare spectacle of the lunar eclipse on Sept. 27 at 9 p.m.

With friends and faculty in attendance the Astronomy Club hosted the Lunar Eclipse Star Party to marvel at the eclipse.

“We had estimates ranging from 90 people in the beginning of the night, to 150 in the end of the night,” said Dr. Scott Roby an Oswego State Astronomy Professor. “It was super busy all over the place.”

Four different telescopes were set up at Rice Creek Field Station to view the lunar eclipse, Saturn, the Ring Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy and other celestial objects.

“They have a new observatory with a 16-inch Meade telescope,” said Roby. “It’s the biggest telescope we’ve ever had on campus. We are still fine tuning how to make it track the sky, we are learning our way around.”

Although there was cloud cover during the eclipse, gaps in the clouds allowed for the large crowds to view the eclipse.

“Clouds came in for about 15 to 20 minutes, but we knew it was going to be dark for an hour and 15 minutes of totality,” Roby said. “We caught the middle of totality between 10:30 p.m. and 11p.m.”

“Seeing this marvelous moon through telescopes has allowed me to engage and experience it like never before,”freshman Jamie Aranoff said. “I am grateful for the extensive knowledge and technology the astronomy club had set up.”

Aranoff was not the only one that enjoyed the use of the telescopes that the Astronomy Club set up.

“Seeing the moon through the telescope was definitely cool because you could see the craters on the moon, and watch it up close as the moon passed through the Earth’s shadow,”freshman Jason Hui said.

The Lunar Eclipse Star Party was open to Oswego State students, as well as the public. Roby explained the science behind the eclipse to everyone who attended.

“I loved seeing Dr. Roby there explaining what was happening, as it was happening, because I even learned a little while I was there watching this cool event,”freshman Alexus Grady said.

A lunar eclipse is when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow during a full moon. It can last anywhere between two and four hours. Lunar eclipses occur around twice a year.

After observing many lunar eclipses, ancient astronomers were able to make many observations, such as the earth is spherical and that the earth is about four times the size of the moon.

“It was the first lunar eclipse and the first blood moon I have ever seen,” Grady said. “It was also the first time I had used a telescope, and it was very interesting.”

Sunday’s lunar eclipse was also called a “super blood moon.” The moon appeared to be 5 percent larger in size that it normally would be, making it a super moon. It was called a blood moon because as the moon passed through the earths umbra, light reflected and the moon turned blood red orange.

“I’ve never seen a lunar eclipse in person,” Derek Hempstead, a freshman said. “It was an experience I was looking forward to and to be able to experience it at the same time as a blood moon was quite extraordinary. It is definitely something I would like to see again.”

“It was an excellent experience for students of all different majors to be able to learn and view a historic astronomical event,” Aranoff said.
The next time we will experience the same conditions to call this lunar eclipse a super blood moon will be in 2033.

“I would definitely go visit Rice Creek Field Station for another Lunar Eclipse Star Party,” freshman, Sammi Flavell said. “Everyone was very knowledgeable and it was an enjoyable experience.”

The Astronomy Club will continue to host star parties throughout the semester, this includes viewing a meteor shower in October at Glimmerglass Lagoon.

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