Night of the Lunar Eclipse!


LE 2003

Early in the morning of April 15 at about 2 a.m. EDT, a total lunar eclipse visible from North America will begin and will finish at approximately 5 a.m. EDT.

What’s a Lunar Eclipse?

lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra(shadow). This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned (in “syzygy”) exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon’s location relative to its orbital nodes.

Lunar Eclipse

Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a certain relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the Earth. A lunar eclipse lasts for a few hours, whereas a total solar eclipse lasts for only a few minutes at any given place, due to the smaller size of the moon’s shadow. Also unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are no brighter (indeed dimmer) than the full moon itself.

Visibility Map

The timing of total lunar eclipses are determined by its contacts:

P1 (First contact): Beginning of the penumbral eclipse. The Earth’s penumbra touches the Moon’s outer limb.

U1 (Second contact): Beginning of the partial eclipse. The Earth’s umbra touches the Moon’s outer limb.

U2 (Third contact): Beginning of the total eclipse. The Moon’s surface is entirely within the Earth’s umbra.

Greatest eclipse: The peak stage of the total eclipse. The Moon is at its closest to the center of the Earth’s umbra.

U3 (Fourth contact): End of the total eclipse. The Moon’s outer limb exits the Earth’s umbra.

U4 (Fifth contact): End of the partial eclipse. The Earth’s umbra leaves the Moon’s surface.

P2 (Sixth contact): End of the penumbral eclipse. The Earth’s shadow no longer makes any contact with the Moon.

 

Source: NASA, Wikipedia.

 

B.

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One response to “Night of the Lunar Eclipse!

  1. Pingback: Total lunar eclipse in North America | Dear Kitty. Some blog·

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