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Total eclipse

Fred Espenak
The coming weekend presents me with a rare quandary. I must choose between my most valued pastime of sleeping and my giddy, school-girlish love for astronomical phenomena. Luckily, the inevitable best choice of cosmos-viewing will not drag me from bed all that early.

On Saturday morning, a total eclipse of the moon will be visible in the skies of western Northern America. For those on the West Coast, the shadow of the Earth will begin to eclipse the moon at around 4:45 a.m. PST. By 6:05 PST, the moon will be fully engulfed in a reddish-brown light. The total eclipse will be visible all the way from the Pacific Coast of North America to Asia and Eastern Europe.

Sadly, for us New Mexicans, we will miss out on the full-fledged, actual, total eclipse of the moon. We will, however, be able to see a partial eclipse at moonset, which will happen at 7:05 that morning. Partial or not, I contest that it will be quite romantic to face west for an eclipsed moonset whilst the sun rises over the Sandias to the east. This kind of magic doesn't happen every day, and this kind of eclipse won't happen again until 2014.

Shadowandsubstance.com provides an interactive visibility map that gives more detail of what will be visible when, and for how long. The website also provides videos of what the eclipse will be like in major U.S. cities.

Also, I've had Bonnie Tyler's “Total Eclipse of the Heart” stuck in my head all morning.