by Matthew Shepard
THE highlight of September was undoubtedly the "blood moon", caused by a lunar eclipse - the shadow of the earth covering the full moon in the small hours of the morning of 28th September, lasting around 1 hour and 12 minutes. The diffraction of light, rather like that which occurs at sunsets, causes the moon to appear red.
This was also a "super moon", when the elliptical orbit of the moon brings it closer to the earth, bringing with it some of the highest tides of the year, although fortunately without the strong winds that often cause flooding.
The conjunction of lunar eclipse and super moon is a rare event, and will not take place again until 2033, although there will be a total lunar eclipse next in 2018.
The Astronomy Club also featured on Channel Report, when weather presenter Sophia Bird presented the forecast live from the Dome, just after the lunar eclipse, and discussed with Tony Bellows the outstanding shots that Channel Television had obtained of the blood moon.
The October Meeting of the Astronomy Club saw a presentation by Tony Bellows on the 17th Century Astronomical Revolution. This was a period of around 150 years, spanning the time between Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton, each of whom made significant impacts on the model we have of the solar system today.
After the talk, Neil Mahrer gave a resumé of the stars and constellations to see in the night sky in the coming months. Venus and Jupiter were bright in the morning sky, but only Saturn could be seen very early in the evening.