Penumbral Lunar Eclipse to Be Seen This Evening

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If there is ever an evening to gaze up at the night's sky, tonight would be it. On October 18, 2013, a "penumbral" eclipse is in store for individuals located in the eastern half of North America and South America, all of Europe and Africa, and western Asia. The Indian subcontinent and China's western half may notice some shading early on Saturday morning.

To see this eclipse from the western half of North America is impossible. The penumbra will be greatly detected on the time of the deepest phase (7:50PM EDT, or 2350 GMT), therefore the eclipse occurs before the moon rises and sun sets in the western half. At this time, the penumbra will cover approximately 76.5 percent of the lunar disk.

According to Earth Sky, a penumbral eclipse is more difficult to observe than a partial or total eclipse. This specific type of eclipse occurs when the moon moves through the outer part of Earth's shadow. Some may observe the dark shading on the moon's face at mid-eclipse, while others will notice nothing at all.


According to Fred Espenak, about 35 percent of all eclipses are penumbral, 30 are partial, and 35 are total. Tonight, the penumbral lunar eclipse will produce a slightly reddish shade upon the southernmost portion of the full moon's surface.

You can also watch the eclipse online since the Slooh Space Camera will air a live broadcast, with Slooh's team of experts joining in during the eclipse's peak. "Although a penumbral lunar eclipse might go unnoticed by someone casually glancing at the moon, we will be able to observe the gradual shading of the moon in the live images Slooh will broadcast throughout the eclipse. The shading becomes far more apparent when viewed as a time-lapse, and we'll show viewers that during the live segment of the show," said Paul Cox, from Slooh's team of experts.

Images via Fred Espenak & Wikimedia Commons

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