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Weather Clears for Total Lunar Eclipse

Posted: February 21, 2008 3:59 p.m.
Updated: April 23, 2008 5:04 a.m.

A few clouds just added to the ambience during Wednesday's total lunar eclipse, seen in progress from Santa Clarita, and visible throughout the Western Hemisphere.

To the delight of many moongazers throughout the SCV, Wednesday's cloudy, dull weather cleared up just in time to afford a perfect view of the total lunar eclipse.

Armed with binoculars, cameras and high-powered telescopes, several dozen members of the Local Group Astronomy Club of the Santa Clarita Valley and their families gathered just after dusk at Todd Longshore Park to watch the spectacle unfold.

"This is neat for the kids, because it fits right in between sunset and nine o'clock," said Tom Falconer, outgoing president of the club.

Falconer said that the next eclipse, which does not occur until Dec. 20, 2010, will be harder to view because it will happen in the middle of the night. The last one was in August 2007. On average, full lunar eclipses occur every three years.

Todd Longshore Park, which is situated near the top of White's Canyon Road, offered a prime vantage point for viewing the three-hour eclipse, which started just before 6 p.m. and ended around 9 p.m.

Between 7 and 7:50 p.m., the moon was engulfed in darkness as it entered the shadow created by the earth passing in front of the sun.

Falconer said that the moon did not appear as dark as it could have, because during this particular eclipse it did not pass into the deepest part of the Earth's shadow.

Viewers were treated to a triangle of celestial bodies - the moon was surrounded by the planet Saturn and the star Regulus.



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