Phases of a Total Lunar Eclipse
Originally uploaded by Fort Photo.
Lunar eclipses are very cool because they are much more widely visible than solar eclipses. On Saturday March 3rd there is going to be a lunar eclipse which you can see from all over the Americas, Europe, Africa and and western Asia. All you need is a clear enough portion of sky.
Lunar eclipses are caused by the Moon moving into the path of the Earth’s shadow. Therefore they only happen on a Full Moon and only at certain times of the year, due the slight up and down motion of the Earth-Moon relationship.
The March 3rd eclipse starts at about 9.30pm at which time you will see a small chunk of shadow start to creep across the Moon’s face, roughly bottom to top. At about 10.45pm the Moon will be eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow completely and will go anything from a light blue to a rusty red colour. The colour of the Moon during an eclipse is down to how much cloud/pollution/dust is the Earth’s atmosphere as it is the light refracted through the air that displays the Moon to us.
The Moon will stay like this until around midnight when the shadow will begin to draw away, this time left to right, and the eclipse starts to come to an end which it finally does at about 1.10am as the Earth’s shadow leaves the edge of the Moon.
In total the event takes a few hours so you only need s short clear sky window to get a look but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for clear skies that night and a nice deep red Moon if i’m lucky.
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