Michael Burton, Director of the Armagh Observatory and Planaterium
Monday January 21, 2019 – the last chance to watch a total eclipse of the Moon from Armagh for over a decade. Should we hold a special viewing session to give people the chance of seeing this celestial wonder?! Easy question, not such an easy answer when the eclipse starts at 4:30am. Would anyone really get out of bed and come to the Observatory at such an hour, in the depths of winter?!
A question Armagh astronomer Tolis Christou and I had wrestled with since the great eclipse of July 27, 2018. Then we organised a special session using Armagh’s famous Grubb 10-inch. That one was mid-summer, and the eclipse was at sunset, a very comfortable time for viewing. Quite pleasant to stroll around outside, even if the weather didn’t cooperate.
Outside the Grubb Telescope waiting patiently for the clouds to part! Credit: Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
But winter mornings are a very different matter, would anyone actually come?! So it was only two weeks beforehand that we finally decided to hold an event and find out. The dull, blood-red Moon seen during a total lunar eclipse really is a ...