21 February 2008 XXXI

Khamsin Molossia News

A total lunar eclipse occurred above the Republic of Molossia on 20 February 2008 XXXI, the last total lunar eclipse to occur until 2010. The Moon entered the first partial phase at 6:22 PM Molossian Standard Time (5:43 PM PST). The total phase began at 7:40 PM MST (7:01 PM PST) and ended at 8:30 PM MST (7:51 PM PST). Observations of the eclipse in Molossia began at about 7:24 PM MST (6:45 PM PST), and continued until about 8:09 PM MST (7:30 PM PST), at which point Molossian astronomers decided that it was just too darn cold to be outside. Once the moon was within the earth's shadow, it appeared as an orange disc, with the top two thirds darker than the bottom third. Clouds obscured the Moon during the early stages of the eclipse, and continued to do so periodically throughtout the event.

Observations of the eclipse were notably improved over the eclipse of August 2007 XXX. At that time, there was no equipment for proper observations, as our old telescope, dubbed the Rufus T. Firefly National Observatory, had been retired in 2005. That telescope was replaced in September 2007 XXX, as a direct result of the August eclipse. The new Rufus T. Firefly National Observatory includes not only the telescope, but also the ability to take photographs through the telescope. In addition, the Observatory was augmented by a video camera and our trusty digital camera. As it turned out, the video camera, installed as an afterthought, proved to be the most valuable asset. The video camera took several minutes of film during the last part of the first partial phase, which has been turned into a short movie of the eclipse. The telescope camera failed to perform well, the pictures it took being of poor quality. While the telescope is excellent for general stargazing, it came up lacking for the eclipse, and a better method of capturing such events will be sought before 2010.

In spite of these setbacks, the viewing of the eclipse was nevertheless seen as a complete success and was greatly enjoyed by all Molossians. We look forward to future astronomical events in the the Molossian night sky.

The Moon, taken through the new Telescope.

The Moon, taken by somebody else.

The Rufus T. Firefly National Observatory, set up behind Government House.

A short movie of the latter part of the first partial phase of the eclipse.

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