Pittsburgh could have clear view of lunar eclipse Sunday night
The region could have a clear of a rare lunar eclipse Sunday night, depending on “hit or miss” breaks in clouds, and outdoor stargazers need to break out the long underwear.
The National Weather Service is predicting partly cloudy skies that could make eclipse watchng “iffy” and dangerous temperatures — from zero to 5 degrees — with wind chills dipping to 11 below.
A windchill advisory will be in effect from 7 p.m. Sunday to 1 p.m. Monday.
Clear Sky Chart, a website for amateur astronomers, indicates skies should be clear in Pittsburgh during peak eclipse hours.
“It should be very easy to see the moon,” said Terry Trees of New Kensington, longtime member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh. “I fully expect we’re going to see something that’s red or orange tonight.”
But don’t expect him to venture outdoors.
“At this temperature, I doubt it,” he said. “I’ve seen a number of these, and it might be a good time to look out the windows with binoculars.”
The astronomy association has canceled an eclipse viewing party at Wagman Observatory in Deer Lakes Park in Frazer because of the weather. Pittsburgh has canceled a similar event with park rangers at the Frick Environmental Center at Frick PArk.
Beginning around 10:34 p.m. Sunday, the Earth will move directly between the moon and the sun, creating a total lunar eclipse. Trees said it will start with a sliver of the moon disappearing in the Earth’s shadow.
Totality — when Earth’s shadow completely darkens the moon — will begin around 11:41 p.m. and last 62 minutes.
Trees said the moon should look red or orange because of sunlight scattering off Earth’s atmosphere.
It should also appear bigger and brighter than normal — a super moon — because of its slightly closer position to the Earth.
“It should be very easy to see the moon,” Trees said. “I fully expect we’re going to see something that’s red or orange tonight.”
Trees said winds ranging from 12 to 16 mph could make telescope viewing a little blurry.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobbauder.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, email@example.com or via Twitter .