Cloudy sky may fog eclipse

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:46 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Although tonight’s total lunar eclipse will occur at a time when most Missourians will be awake, prospects are dim for watching the moon pass through Earth’s shadow.

The forecast is calling for cloudy skies tonight.

Forecaster Bill Bryant of the National Weather Service said he did not think chances of viewing the eclipse in central Missouri were very good, but he also said it wasn’t impossible.

“Right now, it looks like there will be solid overcast,” Bryant said.

But he did offer this glimmer of hope: “There could be some broken clouds.”

Visible or not, it will be the last total lunar eclipse in this area until March 3, 2007.

The phase of tonight’s total eclipse will begin at 9:23 p.m. and continue until about 10:45 p.m. During total eclipses, the moon tends to take on colors from bright orange to blood red to dark brown or even a dark gray.

Regardless of the weather, the Astronomy Club will open Laws Observatory to the public from 7 to 10 p.m. The observatory is on the fifth floor of the MU Physics Building on the west side of College Avenue just north of Rollins Street.

“Right now, it looks like we won’t see a moon tomorrow night, but who knows?” member Randy Durk said Tuesday afternoon. “Rain or shine, we’ll be there.”

Pat Daugherty, a representative appointed by NASA to work with local teachers, will also be on hand to answer questions. Durk said that if there is cloud cover and poor turnout, the observatory might close before 10 p.m.

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