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Lunar Eclipse October 8th (pre-dawn)

(UPDATE: October 8, 2014)

Clouds earlier in the night parted at ~5:40EDT in Richmond Hill to give us a nice view of the eclipse starting midway into its partial phase all the way till the fully eclipsed Moon was lost in the glow of morning twilight at ~7:00 am EDT. Attached is a sample of what we saw.

(October 6, 2014)

Early Wednesday morning, October 8th, the Moon will undergo an amazing transformation. At 5:15 am EDT, the Full Moon will be 22 degrees above the Western horizon as seen from the GTA. It will appear a little less bright compared to how it appeared earlier in the night. But watch its upper left edge : it will begin to disappear! Within fifteen minutes, the darkness will have moved halfway in towards the Moon's centre; and by 5:50 am, it will cover half the Moon's face.

The Moon's orbit takes it directly into Earth's shadow on this night.

By 6:25 am, the Moon will be fully into the darkness and now just 11 degrees above the Western horizon. If you've been following the Moon's darkening up to this point so you know exactly where to look, you may still detect the Moon glowing VERY FAINTLY with a distinctly reddish hue. This is from the tiny bit of light getting through the Earth's atmosphere from sunsets happening all around Earth's edge at that moment, with that light being bent ("refracted") in towards the shadow's core to undo some of the gloom.

The Moon will still be in Earth's shadow when it sets at 7:27 am as seen from Richmond Hill, with Sunrise a couple of minutes later along the Eastern horizon.

--Ian Shelton
DDOD's Vice Chair & Resident Astronomer

Next week, I'll tell you about the partial Solar Eclipse happening on October 23rd, starting just before sunset in the GTA.

The David Dunlap Observatory lies nestled in the heart of Richmond Hill, Ontario, a city of 200,000 just north of Canada's largest city, Toronto. The 190-acre oasis of mature forests, pastures and springs is home to two distinct deer herds and an abundance of other wildlife, including a coyote pack, foxes, voles, rabbits, honey bees, many species of butterflies, and birds including hawks, owls, doves, crows and songbirds. The property represents the last and largest urban open green space in southern Richmond Hill.

Originally deeded to the University of Toronto by the philanthropist Jessie Donalda Dunlap in memory of her husband David, the Dunlap Observatory opened on May 31st, 1935. Its magnificent 74-inch telescope was the second largest in the world at that time and has been used through seven decades to conduct much groundbreaking research, including the discovery of the first known black hole, Cygnus X-1.

In 2007, the University of Toronto wrested control of the land from Jessie Dunlap's heirs through a protracted legal case spanning 4 years. They then broke the public covenant that the land would remain a park and a research and outreach centre in perpetuity by selling the property to a developer intent on replacing most of the greenspace with hundreds of houses.

The DDO Defenders have been working hard to represent the public and inform all levels of government about what will be lost if the developer is allowed to proceed.

On April 12th, 2012, after six long and anxiety-ridden months of Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) mandated mediation following a four year hard-fought and very public battle, an agreement was reached in March between the mediation parties to the David Dunlap Observatory Lands OMB case.

Minutes of Settlement were drawn up for signing by all parties to the mediation -- the landowner, Corsica Development Inc. (a subsidiary of MetrusDevelopments Inc.), the Town of Richmond Hill, the Region of York, the Toronto and Area Conservation Authority (TRCA), and the David Dunlap Observatory Defenders (DDO Defenders) Inc. This historic document was ratified by Richmond Hill Town Council on Thursday, April 12th. All mediation parties had been sworn to absolute secrecy under a strict gag order until Council signed off on the agreement, but now the silence has finally been broken and the details of the settlement agreement can be made public. (read more)

For further information or to offer support, please contact:

The Minutes of Settlement is posted at the Town of Richmond Hill - DDO webpage.

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The DDO Defenders are deeply committed to preserving the David Dunlap Observatory, surrounding Lands and the Dunlap Legacy. Our mandate is to ensure that the campus continues to operate as a world-class astronomical and astrophysical research facility and a centre of excellence in public Outreach, Education and Experiential Learning regarding all aspects of the Scientific, Physical and Natural World.

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