There’s a lunar eclipse tonight! At exactly 23:51 UTC the first and only penumbral lunar eclipse of the year will reach its peak — the lunar eclipse will begin at right around 21:51 UTC on October 18th and last until about 01:50 UTC on October 19th.
Those in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of western Asia will get the best show — as it will be nice and dark in those places during the time of maximum eclipse. It will be less ideal in the Americas though, as it will still be relatively light there throughout most of the eclipse.
“At maximum eclipse 76.5% of the Moon’s disk will be in the Earth’s penumbral shadow. Those in the US will be able to catch only the end of the eclipse — when the Moon rises at about 6pm EST the eclipse will already be in progress.”
As we reported previously: “A Penumbral lunar eclipse is when the Moon passes through the ‘faint’ penumbral part of the Earth’s shadow — you can expect to see a notable darkening/reddening of the Moon as it passes through the shadow. The red tint that the Moon possesses during such eclipses is due to the fact that as the Sun’s light is filtered through the Earth’s atmosphere much of the ‘blue light’ is eliminated, leaving only the reddish hues.”
Make time for the eclipse if you can (if you’re in a good location), as the next lunar eclipse won’t be until April 15, 2014 — that will be a total lunar eclipse, though, so that will actually be a rather different show anyways. Do both if you can. 🙂
For information on all of the other great astronomical events of the year, see: Astronomy 2013, Comet ISON, Geminids, Lunar Eclipse, Leonids, Solar Eclipse, Super Venus, Etc.
Image Credit: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse via Flickr CC; NASA