Denver residents will have an opportunity to witness a total lunar eclipse Sunday night through telescopes with astronomy aficionados.

The Denver Astronomical Society is hosting a free open house at Observatory Park, just east of the University of Denver. Club members will have telescopes set up and binoculars available for the public to use.

Sunday marks the first of two total lunar eclipses that will be visible in Denver this year, but the timing for this one is better. The moon will rise just before 8 p.m. The total phase of the eclipse will begin at 9:29 p.m. and end at 10:53 p.m., with the maximum eclipse occurring at 10:11 p.m.

The other total lunar eclipse this year will occur in the wee hours of Nov. 8, from 3:16 a.m. until 4:41 a.m.

The Denver Astronomical Society was founded in 1949 and has had a long association with DU. It holds monthly open houses and other events to increase the public’s understanding of astronomy and encourage careers in the field.

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Observatory Park is located between Milwaukee and Fillmore streets, one block south of Evans. The event will take place on the lawn just south of the historic Chamberlin Observatory.

Visitors are urged to bring blankets, folding chairs and warm clothing Sunday night. Current forecasts call for mostly clear skies. In the past, organizers had to worry about rain from another direction.

“We’ve been coordinating with Denver Parks,” said club spokesman Ron Hranac. “We want to make sure they have the sprinklers turned off that night. There was a time in years past when the coordination didn’t always work out. We kept some 5-gallon plastic buckets, and when the sprinklers would come on during an open house, we’d pop an upside-down bucket over the sprinkler head and put a cinder block on it so we didn’t get our telescopes and members of the public soaked.”

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