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Astronomical Topics

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    The Lunar Eclipse of Sept. 14—This was the first lunar eclipse of considerable size that was observable in London under clear skies for a good many years. Lunar eclipses are of interest from the fact that they give a good idea of the general state of the earth's atmosphere, or at least of the portions of it over the regions where the moon is on the horizon. The amount of illumination within the shadow varies to a notable extent. In 1884 the moon could be seen only with great difficulty, while in 1895 the maria and other surface markings could be observed with ease. The late eclipse did not attain either of these extremes, but was perhaps somewhat darker than the average eclipse. The limb was discernible in the telescope without difficulty at all the stages of the eclipse, also the crater Aristarchus, which is the brightest point of the disc. The outlines of the maria, however, were not easily seen until the maximum phase was nearly reached; this is an effect of the darkening sky; when there is bright sky light over the eclipsed region, contrasts are more difficult to detect.

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