Star gazer and Warwick State High School science teacher Stuart Watt gets in practice for tonight’s lunar eclipse with the school’s telescope.
Star gazer and Warwick State High School science teacher Stuart Watt gets in practice for tonight’s lunar eclipse with the school’s telescope. Emma Channon

Watt a lunar spectacle

EVEN if it happens behind a band of clouds, Stuart Watt knows exactly when the moon will cross into the Earth's shadow tonight.

The Warwick State High School science/maths teacher - and avid star gazer - has been studying the patterns in the sky since he was a teenager and has lost count of the number of lunar eclipses he has seen in his lifetime.

But that doesn't make them any less special.

Mr Watt said the most brilliant time of the lunar eclipse tonight will be 12.06am to 12.57am tomorrow.

"That is when the sun's rays get bent by the Earth's atmosphere and you see the moon as if it is lit up by a sunset - it's a copper colour," he said.

"The first bite - that's when the moon first crosses into the Earth's shadow - will happen 10.45pm."

The moon enters the "totality" phase at 12.06am, where it is in a complete eclipse. It begins to leave the shadows at 12.57am and will be out of all shadows by 2.17am.

The best method to see the eclipse was away from street lights Mr Watts said, and tools such as binoculars or telescopes weren't needed.

"It's totally safe to watch a lunar eclipse with the naked eye," he said.

"It's definitely not safe to watch a solar eclipse though."

The science teacher organised four astronomy sessions this year but only two could be held because of poor weather. He joked that it had almost become "Murphy's Law".


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