Lunar eclipse

A total lunar eclipse will be visible from almost everywhere on earth tomorrow night (March 3rd/4th, 2007). This site links to several webcasts and gives the beginning and ending times:

“The Moon encounters the penumbra, the Earth’s outermost shadow zone, at 20:18 Universal Time (UT). About thirty minutes later a slight dusky shading can be noticed on the leading edge of the Moon.

At 21:30 UT the Moon begins its entry into the innermost shadow zone, or umbra. For more than an hour a circular shadow creeps across the Moon’s face. At 22:44 UT, the Moon will lie completely within Earth’s dark shadow.[…]

Totality will end at 23:58 UT, when the moon’s leading edge exits the umbra. The moon will leave the umbra completely at 01:11 UT, and the eclipse will end at 02:23 UT when the moon makes its last contact with the penumbra.”

I just looked out of the window at the moon in an almost clear nightsky. If the weather is like this tomorrow, it’s going to be fun to watch the eclipse from the office without getting cold outside. ;-)

Did it ever occur to you that whenever a lunar eclipse occurs on earth, there’s a solar eclipse on moon at the same time because the earth blocks the sun? It never did to me even though I teach how eclipses work at least once every year, and my students usually come up with all sorts of interesting ideas and questions. Here’s a picture of what it would look like.

It’s a pity I only found out about the eclipse now, I would have liked to tell my students about it – I’m covering related topics in two of the three physics classes I teach at the moment (basic optics including lunar and solar eclipses in 8th grade, Kepler‘s laws of planetary motion in 11th grade).

4 thoughts on “Lunar eclipse

  1. LuCaS

    Tonight, it’s raining here in Brugge, Belgium, but I think the weather forecast is good for tomorrow night. Enjoy (could be the best in years !) and thanks for this great optics lesson tip.

  2. Andrea Post author

    We were lucky, the sky was clear Saturday night. However, I didn’t watch much of the eclipse since totality began at a quarter to midnight, close to my usual (weekend) bedtime.

    Daniel, this page states that this eclipse “is unique in that it is partly visible from every continent around the world” though at UT-7, you would only have been able to catch the last bit of it, see the bottom of this chart.

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