Lafayette Science Museum and Planetarium to have telescopes available for Sunday’s ‘supermoon’ total eclipse _lowres


The Lafayette Science Museum and Planetarium will have telescopes available Sunday night at Parc Sans Souci downtown for a viewing of the total eclipse of a “supermoon,” a rare convergence seen five times over the past century and not to be seen again until 2033.

The lunar eclipse is happening when the moon, on its orbit is closest to the Earth, slowly turns red as light from the sun filters through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Because it is closer, the moon will appear larger in the night sky as Earth’s shadow creeps across the moon until it completely covers it.

“Having people look through the telescope to see the actual light is a really important part, maybe more important than having people look at pictures,” said planetarium curator Dave Hostetter. “You can find pictures anywhere but seeing the real thing, seeing the real light, it’s just a whole different feel to it for most people.”

The eclipse will start around 7 p.m. , but it won’t be visible to the naked eye until shortly after 8 p.m. The entire event is expected to last several hours, ending around 12:30 a.m.

The next lunar eclipse to be this visible isn’t expected to occur until 2022.

“The eclipse is going to be a good one, almost a full eclipse,” said assistant planetarium curator Charlotte Guillot.

Along with the six telescopes at Parc Sans Souci, the museum will have raw footage of the lunar eclipse streaming live on YouTube and will also be one of five observatories in the nation contributing footage of the eclipse to NASA TV, which will be broadcasting the images.

To double-check if the viewing has been canceled due to weather, call (337) 291-5544 or check the Lafayette Science Museum Facebook page.

Advocate staff writer Amy Wold contributed to this report.