Comets Gather to View Historic Lunar Eclipse


In the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 31, a total lunar eclipse graced the sky above the UT Dallas campus. (FYI: It was the first time in more than 150 years that a lunar eclipse occurred during a blue moon.) The view was especially clear above the Visitor Center.

Office of Communications student photographers and ATEC majors Sarah Wall (left) and Rachael Drury braved temperatures in the 40s and a steady wind to catch the moon turning reddish-orange as it passed into the Earth’s shadow.

Drury and Wall also captured a crowd of more than two dozen physics students, faculty and others gathered on the roof of a campus parking garage for a public viewing of the lunar eclipse, including physics majors and sisters Alisha Whitehead (right), a senior, and Ariel Whitehead, a freshman. Ian Grey (left), a junior in physics and member of the Society of Physics Students, had been on the roof since the night before the eclipse.

Grey helped set up several telescopes and astrophotography stations with Dr. Joe Izen, professor of physics. Izen (seated above) bundled against the chill as he monitored the eclipse.
Dr. Richard Benson (below), UT Dallas president and an avid nature photographer, joined the early-morning gathering at the parking garage, where the lights had been dimmed to accommodate viewers and photographers.

–Amanda Siegfried