Super Moon Eclipse Viewing at Benedictine College | Benedictine College

Super Moon Eclipse Viewing at Benedictine College

Published: Monday, September 21, 2015

Benedictine College students and Atchison-area residents will have the opportunity to view the rare “Super Moon” total lunar eclipse on Sunday night, Sept. 27, from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. using the college’s Physics & Astronomy Department telescopes. The viewing will take place on the practice football field next to Wilcox Stadium with parking available in the adjacent lot off Second Street. The free event is co-sponsored by the Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Benedictine College chapter of the Society of Physics Students.

“This is a rare opportunity to see the total eclipse when the Moon is as close to the Earth as it gets,” said Dr. Ryan Maderak, Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Benedictine College. “That's because the Moon’s orbit comes closest to the Earth just 59 minutes before mid-eclipse, so the Moon will appear almost 20% larger than normal. Any time the Moon hits that part of its orbit, it is referred to as a Super Moon.”

According to Dr. Maderak, a telescope is not required to observe a lunar eclipse, but the college’s Physics & Astronomy Department will have telescopes available for those who wish to use them.

“In short, a lunar eclipse is when the moon is hidden by Earth’s shadow,” Maderak said. “The reason this one is exciting is because it happens to be a total lunar eclipse (the moon will be entirely in earth’s shadow), and the next total lunar eclipse visible from the Midwest isn’t until January 2019. The next time it would be a ‘Super Moon’ eclipse won’t happen until 2033.”

The observing session will start, if the sky is clear, at 8:00 p.m. The eclipse should begin by 8:10 p.m.

The observing session will be cancelled if the sky is cloudy that night. If participants are uncertain whether the sky will allow observation, they can contact Dr. Maderak at rmaderak@benedictine.eduor by telephone at 913-360-7527.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is one of only 15 liberal arts colleges with an astronomy major and has been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.