By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
One might think with it getting dark so early, the divine schedulers might be able to do a better job with the starting time of the near-total lunar eclipse later this week.
In Wyoming, the eclipse will begin right after midnight on Friday morning.
For astronomy lovers, Wyoming meteorologist Don Day said this eclipse is not one to be missed. Not only will it be the longest lunar eclipse of the century but the longest since 1440.
So unless you’re a vampire, Day said, chances are you haven’t seen one this long before.
Friday’s event will last six hours and two minutes. But here in Wyoming, peak viewing times are between 12:00 a.m. and 3:45 a.m.
The earth’s distance from the moon is the reason for the eclipse’s staying power. The full moon is at its apogee — which means the furthest the moon can go in its orbit around the Earth.
The moon moves slower the further it is from our blue marble.
If you just want the Cliff Notes’ version of the eclipse, set your alarm for 2 a.m. — that’s when the eclipse will appear most full, covering 97% of the moon.
As for the weather, the divine schedulers could have done better here as well.
Because of cloud clover, Day grades viewing conditions at a C-minus to a D-plus — although that can always change.
“At the moment, looks like a lot of high clouds Thursday night/Friday morning, there will be breaks but more clouds than clear,” Day said.
Makes no difference to Day, however. These events don’t come along very often.
“I will always say it is worth staying up and astronomical events are special, most folks miss out,” he said.
Day said he hoped the long-range forecast improves.