© John Buonomo, North Billerica, MA.

Total lunar eclipse

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Eclipses feed

A simulation of how the eclipse will appear from Ashburn.
Time:       Altitude: °      Azimuth: °
The outer grey circle is the Earth's penumbra, and the inner black circle is the umbra. Any part of the Moon which passes within the black circle will be unilluminated, while any part within the grey circle will appear less bright than usual.



The Moon will pass through the Earth's shadow between 08:44 and 12:27 EST, creating a total lunar eclipse. The eclipse will be visible any location where the Moon is above the horizon at the time, including from Africa, Oceania, Asia, Northern America, Eastern Europe and Aland Islands.

It will not be visible from Ashburn since the Moon will be beneath the horizon at the time.

The total eclipse will last from 09:57 until 11:15. The Moon will be partially eclipsed between 08:44 and 12:27 (all times given in Ashburn time).

Eclipses of the Moon are easy to watch with the unaided eye. A modest pair of binoculars will give a superb view of the Moon's surface, but are not required. Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are entirely safe to look at without the need to look through any kind of filter.

They occur whenever the Earth passes between the Moon and Sun, such that it obscures the Sun's light and casts a shadow onto the Moon's surface.

When the Moon's disk lies entirely in shadow, it often takes on a spectacular reddy-brown color, as some of the Sun's red light is bent around the edge of the Earth's globe by its atmosphere.

Sequence of events

The eclipse will begin at 07:32, when the Moon first enters a region of the Earth's shadow called the penumbra. In this outer part of the Earth's shadow, an observer on the Moon would see the Earth partially obscuring the Sun's disk, but not completely covering it. As a result the Moon's brightness will begin to dim, as it is less strongly illuminated by the Sun, but it remains illuminated.

At 08:44, the edge of the Moon's disk will enter the Earth's umbra. This is the region of space in which an observer on the Moon's surface would see the Earth completely obscuring the whole of the Sun's disk, and would find themselves suddenly thrust into darkness.

As an increasing fraction of the Moon's face creeps into the Earth's umbra, it will appear to have a growing bite taken out of it. We will see our planet's circular shadow sweep across the face of the Moon.

Eventually the Moon will pass entirely within the Earth's umbra at 09:57, and the total eclipse will begin.

The table below lists the times when each part of the eclipse will begin and end.

Local
time
UTC
07:3212:32Moon begins to enter the Earth's penumbra
08:4413:44Moon begins to enters the Earth's umbra. Partial eclipse begins.
09:5714:57Moon fully within Earth's umbra. Total eclipse begins.
10:3615:36Midpoint of eclipse
11:1516:15Moon begins to leave the Earth's umbra. Total eclipse ends.
12:2717:27Moon fully outside the Earth's umbra. Partial eclipse ends.
13:3918:39Moon leaves the Earth's penumbra
The geometry of a lunar eclipse
The geometry of a lunar eclipse. Within the penumbra, the Earth covers some fraction of the Sun's disk, but not all of it. In the umbra, the Earth covers the entirety of the Sun's disk. Any parts of the Moon's surface that lie within the Earth's umbra will appear unilluminated. Image courtesy of F. Sogumo.

The eclipse geometry

Lunar eclipses occur when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned in an almost exact straight line, with the Earth in the middle, such that the Earth casts a shadow onto the Moon. The diagram to the right shows this geometry, though for clarity the Moon is drawn much closer to the Earth than it really is.

The Moon passes close to this configuration every month, when it is at full moon, but because the Moon's orbit around the Earth is tipped up by 5° relative to the Earth's orbit around the Sun, the alignment of the three bodies into a straight line usually isn't exact.

The Moon's orbit is tipped up by 5° relative to the Earth's orbit around the Sun, represented by the grid above. Lunar eclipses only occur at full moon if they occur when the Moon is close to the Earth–Sun plane, at points called the Moon's nodes.

In the diagram to the right, the grid represents the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. As it circles the Earth, the Moon passes through the Earth–Sun plane twice each month, at the points on the left and right labelled as nodes. A lunar eclipse results when one of these node crossings happens to coincide with full moon, which happens roughly once every six months.

Visibility of the eclipse

Eclipses of the Moon are visible anywhere where the Moon is above the horizon at the time. Since the geometry of lunar eclipses requires that the Moon is directly opposite the Sun in the sky, the Moon can be seen above the horizon anywhere where the Sun is beneath the horizon.

The map below shows where the eclipse of February 20 will be visible.

Map of where the eclipse of February 1989 will be visible.
Map of where the eclipse of February 1989 will be visible. Click here to expand.

Further information

This eclipse is a member of Saros series 123. The exact position of the Moon at the midpoint of the eclipse is as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
The Moon 10h16m +10°57' Leo 29'38"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 17 July 2019
Sunrise
05:56
Sunset
20:33
Twilight ends
22:26
Twilight begins
04:03

15-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

99%

15 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:41 13:36 20:31
Venus 05:19 12:42 20:06
Moon 21:24 01:30 06:19
Mars 07:11 14:18 21:26
Jupiter 17:36 22:23 03:13
Saturn 19:51 00:42 05:28
All times shown in EDT.

Source

Espanak, F., & Meeus, J., Five Millennium Canon of Lunar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000, NASA Technical Publication TP-2009-214172 (2009)

You may embed the map above in your own website. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license, which allows you to copy and/or modify it, so long as you credit In-The-Sky.org.

You can download it from:
https://in-the-sky.org/news/eclipses/lunar_198902.png

Related news

20 Feb 1989  –  Full Moon
28 Feb 1989  –  Moon at Last Quarter
07 Mar 1989  –  New Moon
14 Mar 1989  –  Moon at First Quarter

Image credit

© John Buonomo, North Billerica, MA.

Ashburn

Latitude:
Longitude:
Timezone:

39.04°N
77.49°W
EDT

Color scheme