News

Fire in the sky as Moon and Mars put on show tonight

Don’t fear tonight's blood red moon, it’s all part of a grand cosmic design.
Don’t fear tonight's blood red moon, it’s all part of a grand cosmic design. Contributed

SKYWATCHERS are getting ready for a colourful astronomical event, with a lunar eclipse due this evening.

The moon will appear to turn cherry red as it enters the lunar eclipse. The event, which will last up to 20 minutes, occurs every two-and-a-half years.

Australian astronomer Dave Reneke said for eastern Australia the eclipse would begin at moonrise, about 5.28pm, when the totality phase would have just started.

At the end of this phase, about 6.25pm, the moon will only be 10 degrees above the horizon, so a higher or ocean vantage point is recommended.

April putting on a lunar feast for red moon stargazers

"The further east you are the more of the eclipse you'll see," he said.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the Earth into its shadow.

This can occur only when the sun, Earth and moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle.

Unlike a solar eclipse, which should never be looked at directly, it is quite safe to look at a lunar eclipse.

In fact, the light of the moon will actually be dimmer than normal.

Those watching will see light slowly disappear from the moon as the earth moves in front of the sun.

Then, at the peak, they'll see a vague, ghostly disc rather than the bright shining one usually seen.

The same night of the lunar eclipse will be one of the nights when the planet Mars is closest to the Earth.

"The Red Planet is getting closer to Earth in its journey around the Sun," Mr Reneke said.

"Look for a brilliant reddish 'star' in the south-eastern sky. That's Mars, and it even outshines Sirius.

"By the time you finish reading this story, you'll be about 1000km closer to Mars."

Mr Reneke said the distance between the two planets was shrinking by about 300km every minute.

"On April 14, the distance between Earth and Mars narrows to only 92 million kilometres, a small number on the vast scale of the solar system, but a seven month flight for NASA's speediest rockets," he said.

"Mars will be easy to see with the unaided eye, even from brightly lit cities.

"With a modest backyard telescope, you can view the rusty disc of Mars as well as the planet's whitish north polar cap.

"From Mars, the sun appears only 44% as bright as it does from Earth."

LOOKING UP

  • A lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon
  • A lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the Earth
  • More details at the Sydney Observatory website

Topics:  astronomy, lunar eclipse, mars, moon




New church to open in Calliope, February

BIGGER AND BETTER: Lifestyle Church, which opened in Gladstone 10 years ago yesterday, celebrated their Milestone by announcing the church is expanding to Calliope in February. Pictured: Gabby Curro, 12. and Erica El-Khori, 11.Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

LIFESTYLE Church are expanding to Calliope

Fishing industry squeezed out by new 60% target

THE fishing industry is casting its eye over the State Government’s green paper on fisheries management reform.

FISHING industry casting eye over State Government's green paper

Man, 69, throws at rocks neighbour’s fence to quiet barking hounds

FILE PHOTO: Gladstone Courthouse, Yarroon St.

Man calls police after neighbour rocks his fence

Latest deals and offers

Reno stars want tradies to focus a little more on one thing

The Demmrichs want Tradies to look after their most important tool

Day 2 Splendour Pictures

Sticky Fingers perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Splendour in the Grass Day 2 covered in pictures.

WATCH: News reader tries her hand at hardcore shooter, Doom

Veteran journo and noob gamer takes a shot at Doom

What's on the small screen this week

MasterChef Australia's final four contestants, from left, Harry Foster, Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic and Matt Sinclair.

MASTERCHEF makes way for The Bachelor on Ten's reality TV slate.

Guy Sebastian a hit at Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian performs at Splendour in the Grass with Paces.

REALITY TV judge a hit with festival crowd.

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles