University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

SEMS will webcast last total lunar eclipse for three years

The UND SEMS project will present a live webcast of the total lunar eclipse happening late Friday night Dec. 9/early Saturday morning, Dec. 10. It will be the last total lunar eclipse visible for the next three years anywhere on Earth.

The eclipse happening this weekend in Grand Forks is an unusual one because it will be setting just as it enters totality, occurring when the moon is completely covered in Earth’s cast shadow. A lunar eclipse occurs because the full moon moves into Earth’s shadow, a rare occurrence as all three, Sun, Earth and moon are in a perfect line. The whole show usually lasts three hours, but here in Grand Forks the show will only be about an hour and a half. That means Grand Forks will only see about three minutes of totality.

The SEMS team challenge is to get as much of the eclipse live online as possible. Because of atmospheric effect due to being at the horizon, unusual visual distortions of the moon may take place. The moon will be in at the western horizon entering Earth’s shadow at 6:45 a.m. until it sets at 8:09 a.m. Totality starts at 8:06 a.m.

Join the SEMS team online for the eclipse and breakfast at, starting at 6:30 a.m.

— Tim Young, associate professor, Physics and Astrophysics, 777-4709.