Lunar Eclipse – June 15th 2011

Written by Niel Williams.

The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) held an event to celebrate the lunar eclipse by inviting the general public to a free evening of talks, demonstrations and observation with astronomers and planetary scientists from the University of Manchester and local astronomical societies.

Prof Jamie Gilmour of the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental studies gave two talks on the formation and evolution of the Moon.

In addition to the talks Jamie Gilmour with the help of Niel Williams brought along lunar meteorite thin sections for people to view under the microscope.

Members of the public looking at lunar samples

To compliment the lunar meteorite thin sections we also brought along a laptop to demonstrate a virtual microscope showing a wide range of lunar samples from a variety of Apollo missions. The virtual microscope was developed by the Open University for the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC).

Screenshot of the Virtual Microscope

Jamie Gilmour had also brought along meteorite hand specimens loaned to the University by the STFC. The samples ranged from pieces of Allende, a carbonaceous chondrite, to a Martian meteorite Nakhlite which created a lot of interest among the guests.

Unfortunately the Manchester weather didn’t allow for good viewing of the main event and the lunar eclipse had to be viewed by video link from Israel.

MOSI comissioned a special lunar eclipse cocktail for the occasion!


About Sarah Crowther

I'm a Post Doc in the Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry group. I study xenon isotope ratios using the RELAX mass spectrometer, to try to learn more about the origins and evolution of our solar system. I look at a wide range of samples from solar wind returned by NASA's Genesis mission to zircons (some of the oldest known terrestrial rocks), from meteorites to presolar grains.
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