Planetarium Prepares for 2014 Tax Day Lunar Eclipse

The moon turning a deep red during a total lunar eclipse in November 2003.
The moon turning a deep red during a total lunar eclipse.

Sky watchers will be in for a rare treat the morning of income tax day, Tuesday, April 15.  If you go outside at 3 a.m., you’ll be able to experience the first total lunar eclipse that’s been visible from Gainesville since 2010.

“This particular total lunar eclipse is the first of a series of four sequential total lunar eclipses,” says James Albury, planetarium coordinator for the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium at Santa Fe College. “This rare pattern of eclipses is called a tetrad.  The next tetrad won’t occur until 2032 and after this series of eclipses is over, there won’t be another total lunar eclipse until 2018.  Another exciting part of this event is that we’re in a unique position in Gainesville, because we’ll get to experience all four of these total lunar eclipses (weather permitting). So, we’re encouraging people to experience each of them.”

The Kika Silva Pla Planetarium at Santa Fe College is celebrating this event with special showings of their presentation “Eclipse: The story of our nearest neighbor in space.”

Promotional poster for "Eclipse"
Promotional poster for "Eclipse"

Eclipse takes audiences on a journey of discovery to our nearest celestial neighbor, the Moon,” says Albury.  “This show specifically focuses on the Moon and we’ll discuss the origin, composition and mechanics of the Moon. We also review how the ancients were able to predict eclipses so accurately, and we give you all the details about this upcoming eclipse.”

Show times for Eclipse will be as follows:

  • Saturday, April 12 @ 5 p.m.
  • Monday, April 14 @ 1 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Admission is $5 for adults, and $4 for children (ages 4-12 years old), senior citizens (Ages 60+) and UF Gator-1 ID holders.  Admission is free for anyone 3 years old or younger, and anyone with a valid Santa Fe College ID also receives free admission.

For more information about the April 15 total lunar eclipse or the planetarium in general, please contact James Albury at james.albury@sfcollege.edu or 352-395-5381.  You can also visit the planetarium’s website at http://www.sfcollege.edu/planetarium for more information.