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Look to sky for lunar eclipse, planet show

Amy L. Knapp
amy.knapp@indeonline.com
Robin Gill, astronomy education specialist at The Wilderness Center, poses with some of the center's telescopes in the Astronomy Education Building.

SUGAR CREEK TWP. Stark County residents can look to the sky for more than fireworks this weekend.

Robin Gill, an astronomy education specialist at The Wilderness Center near Wilmot, says this weekend will provide plenty to see, including a lunar eclipse, in the evening sky.

On Saturday, a penumbral lunar eclipse will occur. That means the moon will pass through the lighter part of the earth's shadow, Gill said. The eclipse will be visible in Stark County and most of the U.S.

An eclipse of the moon happens when the sun, Earth and moon line up.

Gill said it will be more subtle than other lunar eclipses but still worth checking out.

“Someone might look at the moon and think that’s not right, but have no idea it’s an eclipse,” she said.

The eclipse begins at 11:07 p.m. and reaches its max - when it’s closest to the center of the shadow - at 12:29 a.m. and ends at 1:52 a.m.

While checking out the moon, Gill also suggests looking for Jupiter and Saturn.

You can’t miss Jupiter, the brightest of the planets, Gill said.

When the moon rises on Saturday, the two planets will follow it.

The following day, Jupiter will be to the right of the moon and Saturn to the left.

Gill suggests using binoculars to examine the moon and the planets.

“The moon is fascinating in and of itself and looking in binoculars is always fun,” she said. "You can see craters up close, hills and all kinds of different things.“

When looking at Jupiter through the binoculars, viewers can see the four Galilean moons that surround it. They will appear as specks of light around the planet, she said.

You won’t be able to see the rings around Saturn, but there is still much to explore, Gill said.

On July 13 and 14, Jupiter will be in opposition and its closest position to the earth. During that time, the sun, earth and planet are in line. When the sun sets, Jupiter will rise and easily be seen around 10 p.m.

On July 20, it’s Saturn’s turn to shine.

“It’s always fun to watch,” Gill said adding she hopes residents take advantage for the free activity that can be done from their backyard.

While the planetarium at the Wilderness Center has not reopened, Gill continues reaching out to those who like to study the sky.

Gill is conducting Facebook live sessions every other Friday to discuss constellations visible in the sky.

Her next Facebook live session is 7 p.m. July 12 on the Wilderness Center page. Gill will discuss the constellation Lyra. Her previous sessions are available on the organization’s page.

Gill also is posting about a variety of topics from planets, the summer solstice and different astronomical matters.

Reach Amy at 330-775-1135 or amy.knapp@indeonline.com.

On Twitter: @aknappINDE

Robin Gill, astronomy education specialist at The Wilderness Center, is encouraging residents to the look to the sky this weekend for a lunar eclipse. She says Jupiter and Saturn also will be visible.