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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Total Lunar Eclipse at Sunset on Saturday March 3 @ 6:24 PM EST

Astronomical events periodically capture public attention but none as frequently as Earth’s moon only 250,000 miles away. Considered an ominous event in ancient times, the next lunar eclipse phenomenon is right around the corner: Saturday, March 3, 2007 immediately at sunset in the eastern United States.

A lunar eclipse can occur only when the Moon is full, and when the Sun, Earth and Moon are exactly on a line, or very closely so.

Weather permitting; the lunar eclipse will have started as it rises in the eastern sky while the sun sets in the west simultaneously. The moon will appear quite faint and ghostly in the darkening sky but turn red as the sun recedes into the night 30-minutes later.

A mild red tint to the moon is more frequently caused by clouds or atmospheric pollution but the March 3 moon will be an eerie deep, extraordinary coppery-red glow only seen during a lunar eclipse. It is anticipated that during the upcoming total eclipse the Moon will glow brightest across its upper portion, while its lower part will appear a darker shade of brown or chocolate color.

The moon will be within the earth's shadow at moonrise, 6:24 p.m. The moon will begin emerging from the earth's shadow at 6:58 p.m. and will continue until the full moon is visible at 9:24 p.m. ending the celestial event.

Totality, the time when the moon is in the earth's shadow, will last for one hour and fourteen minutes which is a little longer than normal. During this time the moon will only be 1/10,000 to 1/100,000 its normal brightness.

Observing tip: Find a place with a clear view of the eastern horizon and station yourself there at sunset. As the sun goes down behind you, a red moon will rise before your eyes. You may wish to use binoculars to observe the event.

A lunar eclipse occurs when a full moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. A total lunar eclipse usually occurs every 12 to 18 months, but isn’t always visible to our segement of planet Earth. The last lunar eclipse visible in the eastern United States area was October 2004.


Anonymous said...

I saw this last night from Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. The moon seemed unusually small and it looked very 3D - like a large pingpong ball that you could have just plucked out of the sky. Very strange. It wasn't blood/rust/bright red. It just wasn't it's normal moon colour. Couldn't really say what colour it was.

Anonymous said...

Watched the Lunar eclipse from Tyningham beach in Scotland (03/03/2007), and it was amazing!!! It change from a bright white moon to a deep orange ball. All the stars came out and filled the sky with an incredible milky. Wish i had a camera that could capture it in all its brilliance.