State Museum stays up late for lunar eclipse

A super blood wolf moon doesn’t come along very often, and the South Carolina State Museum made sure to treat it accordingly.

The museum kept its doors open into the wee hours of Monday morning, allowing a large crowd to enjoy not only the exhibits inside, but also a rare lunar eclipse with help from the telescopes and knowledgeable staff. Despite temperatures hovering near freezing, people of all ages came to enjoy the celestial show.

“We put on our pajamas and coats, brought our blankets, and we’re ready,” said Jacki Stample, who attended with her husband and three children.

Small telescopes were set up on the museum’s observatory balcony and in front of the museum, and guests also had a chance to take a turn looking through the museum’s large telescope for a close look at the eclipse.

Total lunar eclipses happen a little less than once a year, and are not always visible from all parts of the world. The one which started late Sunday night and ended early morning was the last visible from the U.S. until 2022.

A total lunar eclipse is also known as a blood moon because the moon does not disappear entirely. While the earth blocks most of the sun’s light, causing the eclipse, enough sunlight passes through the earth’s atmosphere to turn the moon a dark shade of red.

A “wolf moon” is the name traditionally given to any full moon in January, and a supermoon is a full moon particularly close to the earth in its orbit.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Education, Richland County