Following on from this morning’s space theme, a reminder for New Zealanders and Australians to pencil the late evening of June 26th into their diaries.

For New Zealanders, the partial lunar eclipse will occur from approximately 10:30pm until 12:30am. The midpoint of the eclipse should be at 11:38pm.

(Source wikipedia.)

(Source wikipedia.)

For a full list of eclipses this year, and if you can see them from New Zealand, check the Eclipses in 2010 page of the Royal Astronomy Society of New Zealand website.

Quiz questions for kids, the older kind too. Swot the answers up and teach the kids. Assuming they’re allowed to stay up that late…

  1. Can you explain why there is always a full moon during a solar eclipse?
  2. What city was a lunar eclipse thought to herald the fall of? (Now known by a different name. There will be more than one, but one is particularly well-known.)
  3. What is a syzygy? (There’s a word for Scrabble players! Mind you, the odds of ever getting to use it would be pretty small…)
  4. Why does the moon not go completely dark during an eclipse?
  5. Why are (parts of) the shadow on the moon slightly red?
  6. Solar and lunar eclipses are familiar to most people, but can stars eclipse eachother?
  7. What culture deduced that the earth was round (spherical) by observing the shadow of the earth on the moon?
  8. Could the shadow of the earth on the moon be used to work out the distance between the earth and the moon, the size of the moon and how?

Offer your answers in the comments. (Or in a blog post, if you’re so inclined.) Try answer them yourself before searching the internet if you can. I may hold the answers up for a day (or two) to avoid spoilers for those still wanting to challenge themselves.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons.)

(Source: Wikimedia Commons.**)

Not a quiz question, but something I’d like to know. Matariki* festivities start today (June 14th running until July th). Are there any Maori stories related to lunar eclipses occurring during Matariki?


* For those outside New Zealand, Matariki marks the Maori New Year, marked by the rise of the Pleiades, aka Matariki. Some celebrate with the full moon, which in this case will be eclipsed.

** It’s worth seeing the full-resolution image (651Kb), it’s a great shot of the night sky.

Other articles in Code for life:

What is your relationship with your research notebook?

Autism genetics, how do you copy?

Distinguishing scams (cartoon)

eWeather in NZ

More science in literature done right