Cloud Cover, Sleepy Viewers Predicted In Stamford For Lunar Eclipse

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Stamford residents Jonathan Capasso and 6-month-old son Noah won't be watching a lunar eclipse early Tuesday because they will be sleeping. Cloudy skies may see no one able to view the 3 a.m. eclipse.
Stamford residents Jonathan Capasso and 6-month-old son Noah won't be watching a lunar eclipse early Tuesday because they will be sleeping. Cloudy skies may see no one able to view the 3 a.m. eclipse. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn., -- Lunar eclipse watchers in Stamford and the rest of Fairfield County will be disappointed because the first one of 2014 may not be visible due to an overcast sky early Tuesday.

For Jonathan and Jen Capasso and their 6-month-old son, Noah, cloudiness will be a moot point.

“It really depends  - if we see it - on having a baby now,” Jen Capasso said with a laugh.

The moon will have a temporary red appearance as light from the sun streams through the earth’s atmosphere and lights up the moon. A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth is directly between the sun and the moon.

Tuesday’s eclipse will be the first of four this year, according to NASA. The next one is April 29, while a total lunar eclipse occurs on Oct. 8 followed by a partial solar eclipse on Oct. 23.

For Tuesday's overnight event, the total phase begins at 3:06 a.m. and ends at 4:24 a.m. 

Fairfield County Astronomical Society President Bill Bambrick said the time of the eclipse means he won't be staying up and watching it. And he wouldn't be, even if there was a clear sky.

"I was not planning to stay up for it … it’s 3 a.m. this morning, and that is way past my bedtime,” he said with a laugh.

Solar eclipses are of more interest to him, Bambrick said. “For me there is more going on in a solar eclipse,” he said, including one he saw in the mid-1970s while on the Virginia shoreline.

“The birds stopped chirping, they went to sleep, they think it is bedtime,” he said with a laugh.

Solar eclipses cover a small amount of the earth when they occur, Bambrick said, while lunar eclipses are visible to everyone on the night side of the earth when they occur.

“You have to be a very determined traveler to see a solar eclipse,” he said. “With a lunar eclipse you can put a chair out and watch it."

To learn more about the night skies, the Observatory at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center is operated by the astronomical society. The public is welcome to attend on Fridays between 8 and 10 p.m. Summer hours are 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

The astronomical society meets the second Tuesday of each month, and the public is welcome to attend. The Stamford Museum & Nature Center is located at 39 Scofieldtown Road. 

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