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8 October 2014: Catch The Lunar Eclipse Above Fraser Island

A blood red moon with light up the night skies above Fraser tonight A blood red moon with light up the night skies above Fraser tonight © Scienceblogs.com

Armchair astronomers will be able to join forces across the country to witness a lunar eclipse in the October sky. Here on Fraser Island, we're blessed with a lack of blazing lights, which makes our jetty a prime viewing platform.

According to ABC Science's website total lunar eclipses occur when the Earth's shadow falls directly across the Moon. If the Moon's orbit was perfectly aligned with that of the Earth and Sun we'd have a solar and lunar eclipse with every full and new Moon — when the Sun, Earth and Moon line up.

As the Moon has a tilted orbit, so eclipses can only happen when new or full Moons are at the intersection of the Earth's and Moon's orbits. This happens twice a year, but slight wobbles in the Moon's orbit means that we will not necessarily get a total eclipse each time.

On average a total lunar eclipse can be seen from any given location every 2.5 years, but sometimes you can get a run of them followed by a run of partial or penumbral eclipses. 

What: October Lunar Eclipse
When: Wednesday, October 08
Where: The moon rises around 7.35pm tonight and the eclipse phase is expected to start at 8.25pm and last for an hour.  The best viewing will be in the north-eastern sky from 8pm.
What to Bring: Yourselves, binoculars and a camera
How to book: No bookings needed. Make your way to the jetty at your leisure.

The next eclipse is set for 4 April 2015 (and for those interested, NASA's list of lunar eclipses goes right up to 2100.