Blue Blood Supermoon!

Tomorrow morning, we get to see a particularly rare treat.  We get to see the second full moon of the month (a blue moon) while the moon is at its nearest point to Earth in its orbit, perigee (supermoon), and the Moon will enter the Earth’s umbral shadow resulting in a total lunar eclipse (blood moon).  So we get to see a blue blood supermoon of awesomeness!

The Moon will enter the Earth’s penumbral shadow at 4:51am, so get up early!  At 5:48am, the Moon begins to enter the Earth’s umbral shadow marking the beginning of the partial lunar eclipse.  The total lunar eclipse, when the Moon is fully encased in the Earth’s umbral shadow, begins at 6:51am and reaches the center of the umbra at 7:25am, a mere three minutes before moonset.

Although we won’t be able to see the entire eclipse event, we will get to see the beginning partial eclipse and the first half of the total eclipse.  It does have a benefit for the photographically minded.  With the eclipse happening near moonset, we will see the eclipsed moon behind familiar landmarks.  This provides an opportunity to make some really engaging photographs.

You can see the full timing details at

We will have our own photographs to share after the eclipse, but we welcome your contributions as well.  Share you images in the comments section below or on our Facebook page,

Happy Birthday Kansas

Today is “Kansas Day“, commemorating Kansas’ official admission into the Union and the beginning of statehood on this day in 1861.  You might wonder why on earth the Astronomy Department is talking about Kansas state history, but there is a connection:  the state motto.  The Kansas State Motto is “Ad astra per aspera.”  The translation of which is “To the stars through difficulties.”  Of course at the time of adoption, there was no space program.  Abraham Lincoln dropped the ball on that one.  Kansas was, however, on the cusp of the western frontier, and many of the risks of spaceflight are inherently the same as the pioneers endured.  They were on their own.  When problems arose, and they did, they had to work a solution themselves.

Today, we do have a space program, and it is still difficult.  That’s one of the reasons we go, though.  The difficulty spurs our creativity and innovation, and through that difficulty we find ourselves and our society enhanced.  So we strive to explore the space, our new frontier, and search for our place among the stars knowing that we will face many difficulties in doing so, but through those difficulties, we will grow and be enriched.  Happy birthday, Kansas!  Ad astra per aspera!