Transit of Mercury

The planet Mercury will cross the face of the Sun on November 11th, 2019.  Visitors are invited to view this special event at the planetarium.  This will be the last visible transit of Mercury until 2032.  Local astronomy clubs will participate by providing viewing through special solar filtered telescopes.  Mercury will appear as a small black dot on the Sun.  Check this site for further details.

Planet Mercury on Sun's surface Mercury appears as a small dot near the Sun’s edge


Total Lunar Eclipse January 20/21, 2019

The photos below were taken at the Chesapeake Planetarium. A small telescope was used to capture the images.  Several hundred attended the Total Lunar Eclipse Watch in front of the planetarium building on January 20 / 21, 2019

Lunar eclipse sequence of six images into totality

Earth's moon looking orange during lunar eclipseLarger view of the Moon during a lunar eclipse

lunar surface with small meteor impact appearing as a dot.

Total Lunar Eclipse photos taken at the Chesapeake Planetarium January 20, 2019

Meteor impact on moon during totality appeared as a small flash in one image.

On the night of January 20 /21 the moon passed though the Earth’s Shadow.

Several hundred stargazers arrived at the planetarium Sunday, January 20 to view one of nature’s most spectacular celestial events, a total lunar eclipse.  The photo above was taken using a small telescope that was able to image the entire lunar surface.

visitors to the planetarium viewing the lunar eclipse with the planetarium's telescope

For current planetarium program information call the planetarium star line  547 STAR (7827)

The eclipse watch began at 9:30 p.m. It was clear, and everyone observed the eclipse.

This was an outside event and no reservations were needed to attend.

Time Table for the eclipse

9:35 p.m.   The eclipse started as the Moon enters the lighter penumbra shadow of Earth.  The shadow appeared as a light darkling of the left (western side) side of the Moon. Observers noticed the shadow had a curved shape, which is proof that the Earth is round.

10:33 p.m.  The Moon entered enter the darker (umbra) shadow at approximately 10:33 p.m., at which time observers noticed a red color.

11:40 p.m.  The Moon was completely in the umbra (totality began.)

O:43 a.m. (January 21) totality ended as the Moon begins to leave the umbra.

2:49 a.m.  The eclipse ended as the  Moon moved out of the penumbra.


The next total lunar eclipse in Tidewater will be on May 26, 2021