Total Lunar Eclipse Viewing & Lecture: January 20, 2019

Sunday, January 20, 2019
  • Listen to a lecture entitled "Exploring the Galaxy’s 25 Billion Planets” by Dr. Paul Robertson and learn how astronomers discover and investigate planets that orbit stars other than our Sun from 5:00-6:00 pm in the Physical Science Lecture Hall (Building #411 on the campus map at
  • Afterwards from 6:30 to 10:30 pm, use our telescopes, which will be set up in the courtyard in front of the Multi-Purpose Science and Technology Building (Building #415 on the campus map) to get a close up view of the Moon, Mars and the Orion Nebula. The moon slides into the Earth’s shadow and dramatically turns blood red from 7:33 to 10:50 pm. Learn how to use a night sky map and ask questions of our astronomers.
  • This event is free of charge and open to everyone. Visitors should park in Parking Lot 16 which charges $2/hr or $14 maximum. A parking lot attendant will be on site at the entrance to Lot 16 from 4:30 - 6:30 pm to sell you a parking pass or you can buy a pass from the dispenser at the entrance to the lot if you arrive afterward.
  • Food trucks will be set up in Lot 12A so you can grab a bite to eat. Falasophy, which features delicious modern Lebanese street food, and Piaggio's Gourmet on Wheels, which features delicious Argentinian food, will be there. Each truck will donate 10% of what you spend back to the Astronomy Outreach Program so we can continue these public nights and fund our bringing hand-on astronomy activities and telescopes to K-12 schools.
  • This event is hosted by the Astronomy Outreach Program, which is dedicated educating school children and the general public and is directed by Professor Tammy Smecker-Hane. Funding is provided by the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, as well as donors like you. Support us by donating on-line at and designating your gift to Physical Sciences/UCI Observatory.
  • If it is cloudy, the viewing may be cancelled, but the lecture will go on. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to 
  • RSVPs are not necessary, but are highly suggested because they greatly help us to be prepared for the number of visitors who expect to come. So please RSVP below:

For Educators

Educators should feel free to publicize the event using these documents:


Question 1: When might be the next time to see a good lunar eclipse from Southern California?
     The next lunar eclipse visible from Southern California won't be until July 4, 2020, so don't miss this one!

Question 2: Do I need a telescope to view the eclipse?
     No, you don't need a telescope to view the eclipse but using our telescopes allows you to get a magnified view of the moon's craters and allows you to see things much fainter than with your naked eye.
Question 3: Is there any special thing I should bring with me?
    Yes, you will want to dress warmly and maybe bring a blanket, too, as its likely to be cold out. We'll have buildings open so that you can pop in to get warm during the course of the eclipse, which lasts a few hours. There are places to sit, but you might want to bring your own lawn chair in case its very crowded. Plus the Astronomy Club at UCI will sell hot chocolate and coffee for the duration of the event.
Question 4: When is the peak of the eclipse?
     The best part of the eclipse, when the moon goes into the Earth's penumbral shadow, begins at 7:33 pm and lasts until 10:50 pm. In the middle of this, the moon will turn blood red because it'll be illuminated with light from the Sun that's scattered through the Earth's atmosphere. Molecules in the Earth's atmosphere scatter blue light very efficiently (its the reason the sky is blue during the daytime) so  the bluer photons are scattered in all different directions and don't make it to the Moon. But the molecules in the Earth's atmosphere scatter redder wavelengths of light much less. Therefore the wavelengths of light that go through the Earth's atmosphere and light up the Moon are red, and thus the light refected back to us is red. Scattering by the molecules in the atmosphere is the same reason that as the Sun sets, and the Sun's light travels on a longer and longer path through more and more of the Earth's air before it gets to us, the Sun turns orange then red.