Sunday, November 9, 2003

Eclipse enchants night sky watchers

By Stephenie Steitzer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] The lunar eclipse is seen from the Cincinnati Observatory Center in Hyde Park.
(Associated Press photo)
| ZOOM |
HYDE PARK - Allie Fowee didn't need to wait for Saturday night's lunar eclipse to describe it:

"It's like when the earth casts a shadow on the moon," said Allie, 11, as she waited with her family from Fairfield and about 800 others to view the total eclipse at the Cincinnati Observatory Center.

Allie, who was at the observatory with her parents, Dave, 40, and Susie, 38, and her brother, Ryan, 6, has to write a report on the eclipse for her science class at Fairfield Intermediate.

During lunar eclipses, the moon appears covered by shadow as the earth passes between the moon and the sun.

Saturday night's eclipse appeared light red to many people and brownish to others.

Amateur astronomers braved Saturday's chilly evening on one of the city's highest hills to look skyward.

Bill Lewis, 53, a computer programmer from Montgomery, declared the viewing a success.

"It's a good one, because the sky is so clear," he said, adjusting the focus on his new $500 telescope. "I thought there would be about 10 of us crazies out here, but look at the crowd."

Unlike in May, when the last total lunar eclipse was visible from North America, the sky was mostly clear Saturday night - except for light, feathery clouds at the moment of totality, about 8:10 p.m.

Fort Thomas resident Pat Hagedorn brought his family to the observatory because his daughter Heidi's science club adviser suggested it.

Hagedorn, 40, had never been to the observatory.

"It's pretty neat," he said.

The Associate Press contributed. E-mail

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