ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News
A project to exorcise superstitions about events in outer space is being organized by Ankara University and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, or TÜBİTAK. Encouraging people to observe the sky, Ankara University's observatory, in the Ahlatlıbel district of the city, is being opened free of charge Saturday to allow people to view the partial lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse happens when the earth sits directly between the sun and the moon, thus darkening the moon under the shadow of the earth. This Saturday people will observe a partial lunar eclipse in which the moon will not totally disappear, unlike in a total lunar eclipse, but will turn a shadowy red or copper. Those interested in astronomy or those wishing to show their children the secrets of space can visit the observatory after its doors open 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, when there will also be presentations about astronomy and astrophotography. Visitors will be able to observe the eclipse process at 11:30 p.m., but, the partial lunar eclipse itself will occur around 12:10 a.m. and will be visible for observation by the naked eye.
The society and science projects, supported by TÜBİTAK and jointly organized by the faculty of science and department of astronomy and space sciences at Ankara University, have three sections, according to professor Selim Osman Selam, from the astronomy and space sciences department. �The activity's goal is to inform the public about the sky and change superstitions about events in space,� said Selam, adding that they want to make such special events more popular in Turkey.
�About 1,000 people watched the perseid meteor shower on Tuesday at the observatory in Ankara. We expect that many visitors again on Saturday to experience the lunar eclipse in what feels like an open air cinema,� said Selam, adding that the events hosted about 10,000 visitors last year.
The observatory can be reached via public transportation. It is located in Ahlatlıbel, about 18 kilometers from the Kızılay district in Ankara. The announcement on the Web site recommends that visitors prepare for low temperatures because the eclipse will occur at night. There are no planned activities for the eclipse by Kandilli Observatory in Istanbul or TÜBİTAK National Observatory in Antalya.