Astronomy Benalla
Reports - 2015
Partial Lunar Eclipse - 11th April 2015 Locals and Visitors View a Blood Red Moon On Easter Saturday night a good crowd gathered at the Benalla Airport to view this year’s Total Lunar Eclipse.  Members of Astronomy Benalla had arrived early at 8:00pm only to find that most of the sky was covered in fast  moving cloud. Most decided to go home but a couple of optimists set up the 200mm Newtonian reflector telescope and  a camera. As the partial eclipse commenced at 9:15pm the visitors, which included three families from Melbourne, began to  arrive and an occasional glimpse was obtained of the rapidly changing Moon shape.  In between the cloudy times the telescope was swung onto the bright planet Jupiter which was in the cloudless part of  the sky to view its 4 Galilean moons - this kept the crowd occupied. What clouds that were now left were beginning to  gain the red colour around the Moon that everyone was expecting and the queue to look thru the scope was at a  premium. At the beginning of totality at 10:58 pm, the now blood red moon had lost its brightness but had taken on an  eerie hue.   Throughout the night Rupe was kept occupied, keeping the scope on line, answering questions and doing laser sky  tours of the various constellations from Orion the Hunter in the west, to Crux, the Southern Cross in the south.   The  viewing came to a close as the total eclipse ended at 11:03pm, the shortest lunar eclipse for the past 485 years.  However, by now the ringed planet Saturn could be seen and this was a bonus for those that had chosen to stay to the  end. Rupe Cheetham                                           Pictures: Gwen Cheetham
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