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Science Museum to Host Viewing of Total Lunar Eclipse on Sept. 27

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Science Museum will host two opportunities to view the heavens in the coming weeks, including a viewing of the total lunar eclipse on Sunday, Sept. 27. Eclipses of this type are rare — the next such occurrence won’t take place for another four years, and the moon’s close proximity to the earth makes the event even more unusual.

The Science Museum will be open to the public starting Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m., when museum staff and Springfield Stars Club members will lead observatory tours, planetarium shows, and presentations about eclipses. At 9 p.m., the activity will shift outside to the viewing area on the Quadrangle’s North Lawn, where Stars Club members will have telescopes set up to observe the eclipse. The partial phases of the eclipse begin at 9:07 p.m. and continue until the moon is totally eclipsed from 10:11 to 11:23 p.m.

During the total phase, the normally brilliant full moon will appear much dimmer and shine with an eerie, greyish-orange color. In case of cloudy or inclement conditions, live streaming video of the eclipse will be projected at a location inside the Science Museum. The cost to attend the eclipse event is $5 for adults and $3 for ages 17 and under.

Later that week, the Science Museum’s large rooftop telescope will be open for public skygazing on Friday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Stars Over Springfield observatory series. These programs are organized by the museum and the Springfield Stars Club, and take place on the first Friday of each month. Stars Over Springfield programs are best suited for families with children ages 8 and older; however, younger children are also welcome.

Admission to the October 2 event is $3 for adults and $2 for children 17 and under. These programs are held rain or shine. If it is cloudy, a planetarium show will be presented in place of telescope viewing. The featured talk on Oct. 2 will be presented by Science Museum planetarium educator Jack Megas, who will discuss “Viewing the Autumn Sky.”

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