Sunday, December 12, 2010

Total Eclipse Of The...

That big hunk o' cheese in the night sky will be obscured by the Earth's shadow later this month, in the first total lunar eclipse visible from NZ in nearly three years.
In a lunar eclipse, the moon is obscured as it passes through the Earth's shadow. A total lunar eclipse only occurs when there's a full moon.

Tuesday December 21st is the day...or rather the night. But the eclipse will begin before the moon rises, so in Auckland it'll rise in partial eclipse. Further south the moon will rise in total eclipse, while the lower South Island will see only the tail-end of the eclipse.
The moon will rise at 8.36pm, mid-eclipse is at 9.17pm, and the eclipsed moon is likely to appear copper-coloured. You'll need a clear eastern horizon to be able to see it though. Over water would be ideal, and the further north you are, the better. In Auckland the eclipsed moon won't be visible until around 9pm. It will be necessary to use a higher vantage point like the top of one of the volcano cones to view it.
The last lunar eclipse was a partial one on June 26th this year. This will be the first total lunar eclipse since February 20th, 2008. The next lunar eclipse seen from here is a total eclipse on June 15th next year. 
Just thought you'd like to know...

No comments: