Rose-Hulman's Oakley Observatory Open Sunday to Glimpse Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

Friday, September 25, 2015
Professor looks through a telescope at the Oakley Observatory.

Unique Astronomy Experiences: Oakley Observatory Director Richard Ditteon, professor of physics and optical engineering, will join Astronomy Club members in helping observatory guests view the supermoon lunar eclipse and other celestial objects.

The Oakley Observatory will be open on Sunday, September 27, starting at 8:45 p.m. to give Wabash Valley residents an opportunity to view the supermoon lunar eclipse, a rare astronomical event.

Members of Rose-Hulman's Astronomy Club will help observatory guests use telescopes to view the confluence of three things: A full moon on its closest path to the Earth (called a supermoon); the Earth, which will be lined up directly with the sun and the moon; and the moon, which will fall in the shadow of the Earth.

This sequence of events is scheduled to begin at 8:10 p.m. with a partial eclipse; the total phase will commence at 9:13 p.m.; at 10:16 p.m., the lunar eclipse will be at its maximum, deepest in the shadow of the Earth; at 11:20 p.m., the moon will begin to move out of the shadow of the Earth; and by 1:29 a.m. Monday it will be totally out of the shadow.

The last supermoon lunar eclipse occurred in 1982, and the next time this will happen is 2033.

Telescopes will be set up to view other celestial objects such as binary stars, star clusters, and nebulae.

The Oakley Observatory, provided by Terre Haute's Oakley Foundation, is located off Hunt Road on the eastern edge of campus. Here are directions to get there: Go north at the intersection of Hunt Road and U.S. 40/Wabash Avenue (opposite director of Lost Creek Elementary School); turn left at the first dirt road (with a sign indicating the observatory); continue straight ahead until coming to a large parking lot. The observatory is the large structure up on pillars, with an open roof. Climb the long stairway to the observatory.