Public can experience full lunar eclipse at MU observatory Monday night

Monday, December 20, 2010 | 1:08 p.m. CST; updated 3:27 p.m. CST, Monday, December 20, 2010

COLUMBIA — A full lunar eclipse will occur Monday night, and MU's Laws Observatory will open its doors to the public for free from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. for the celestial showcase. 

The observatory is in the Physics Building, 701 S. College Ave.

The last full lunar eclipse seen from Earth occurred almost three years ago, and Columbia has prime seating for this one, according to the National Weather Service website.

The eclipse will be viewable from Western Europe, North America and parts of Eastern Asia, but Missouri is directly in the moon's path and will have one of the longest possible viewing times, according to the website.

The moon will begin to darken about 12:33 a.m., and the eclipse will last roughly 72 minutes, according to NASA's website.

The lights on Stankowski and Faurot fields and in the MU greenhouses will be turned off to enhance viewing, according to a news release from MU News Bureau.

For those interested, warm clothes are recommended. Monday night's forecast is cloudy with a chance of drizzle with a projected low in the 30s, but there is still a chance that the eclipse will be viewable through the cloud cover, according to the National Weather Service website.

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