Welcome to the Imperial Polk County Astronomical Society website! We are a group of amateur astronomers in Central Florida, dedicated to informing and educating the public about the art and science of astronomy. Come join us at one of our monthly “Astronomy Nights,” located at one of several state and municipal parks here in Polk County.
Our first Astronomy Night for January will be at Colt Creek State Park on the 12th. We start the evening at 7:00 pm with a short presentation and then move outdoors for some up close viewing of the universe.
I suspect that Lunar and solar eclipses occur more frequently than a lot of people think. But what I think doesn’t matter. What does matter, is that there will be a total Lunar eclipse in January of 2019, January 20-21 to be precise. The really good news for us here in Lakeland is that the total eclipse will be visible from Lakeland, Florida, from start to finish. I hope you all are as excited about this as I am. If not, maybe this will help spark your interest. We, the Imperial Polk Astronomical Society, will be doing a Lunar Eclipse Watch that night.
Here are the details: Florida Southern College will host the event for the night. The college is located at 111 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland, Florida. We will do a presentation beginning at 7:00 pm in the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. We’ll tell (and show) you how and why eclipses happen and what to expect from this one. After the presentation, we’ll have time for a short Q & A session. Then we’ll move outside where we’ll have telescopes set up to view some of the wonders of the universe before the eclipse begins. We’ll view galaxies, far, far away, nebulae in our own galaxy, and our own solar system planets. Then, when the eclipse begins, we’ll “focus” our scopes on the Moon and track it through the stages of eclipse. We’ll be there from start to finish.
So, when does it start and end? The presentation starts Sunday, January 20 at 7:00 pm sharp. The eclipse starts at 9:36 pm. The eclipse ends Monday, January 21 at 2:48 am. Obviously, Lunar eclipses occur at night. One good thing about this one is that Monday, the 21st is a legal holiday, so maybe you’ll have the day off.
Our thanks to Florida Southern College, staff and students.
If you have any questions, you can contact us right here through our website.
We “get around” to several different venues and events during the year. We hope to see you at as many of these events as you can come to. See our complete schedule for the year. click above to download. We add events throughout the year, so check back often for the most up to date info! You can also use the subscription form in the sidebar to receive the latest updates automatically.
So why the name “Imperial”? That goes back to the early years of our home, Polk County, Florida. At one time, Polk County boasted more paved roads than anywhere else in the southeast U.S., hence the “Imperial” moniker. It was probably more of a P.R. thing than anything else, but the name has stuck. We are still officially known as “Imperial Polk County,” and are proud of our heritage. If you look alongside several of the old roads crossing the county line, you can still see some of the old county line markers that were installed in the 1930’s.