12 June 2011

The Very Long-lasting Total Lunar Eclipse of 2011

On Wednesday June 15th, viewers in the eastern hemisphere will be treated to a very long-lasting Total Lunar Eclipse, a 100-minute marathon of an eclipse that will reveal the center of the Milky Way in the backdrop as the bright Moon is enveloped in the darkest part of Earth's shadow. Unfortunately for those of us on the other side of the Earth, including here in San Francisco, we will miss the entire eclipse. (But we will get a nice lunar eclipse later this year, on December 10th.)

As for June 15th, this particular Total Lunar Eclipse will be longer than most for two reasons, (a) the Moon passes nearly through the center of the Earth's shadow, and (b) the Moon is nearly at Apogee, when it is farthest from the Earth (and hence appears a bit smaller than usual and takes longer to pass through the Earth's shadow). For my colleagues in Germany, the Moon will rise already in mid-Eclipse, which is an outstanding sight that I have seen one time in the past. Moonrise will be at approximately 9:30 pm, and the Moon remains in total eclipse until approximately 11:00 pm. That would be something to enjoy from a spot with a good eastern horizon. For other locations around the world, use this chart from the NASA Eclipse Web Site to determine the timing for your location. I wish my friends on the other side of the world clear skies and happy viewing!


The Urban Astronomer said...

Live coverage of the Eclipse can be found on Google (http://www.youtube.com/google), and on SLOOH Space Camera (http://eclipse.slooh.com/).

The Urban Astronomer said...

Excellent article about Lunar Eclipses and how they would appear from the Moon: http://earthsky.org/space/five-best-things-to-see-during-an-eclipse-from-the-moon