July Moon at Descending Node and a Partial Lunar Eclipse

   Tuesday July 16th the Moon will be crossing the plane of the ecliptic moving south. This is known as the descending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.

   On the day of the node crossing the full Moon will be passing through the Earth’s shadow giving the part of the world where the Moon will be visible a 65% partial lunar eclipse. This will be a penumbral lunar eclipse during which the Moon passes through the fainter outer Earth’s shadow, the penumbra. However the Moon will be passing deeply into the penumbral shadow giving viewers an relatively dark penumbral eclipse lasting more than 2 hours.

   The full Moon rises shortly before midnight July 16th and is about 6-7o to the east from the ringed planet Saturn. The graphic shows how far the Moon has moved from the Earth’s shadow since the end of the Eclipse.

   So where will the eclipse be visible? Not from the U.S. of A. The table below shows eclipse times in UT and a quick conversion to my time zone, U.S.A. Central Daylight Time (CDT=UT-5) shows the eclipse begins at 1:43 pm CDT, maximum is at 4:30 pm CDT, and eclipse ends at 7:17 pm CDT – all times are before the Moon rises for my time zone as well as the rest of North America.

Penumbral eclipse begins: 18:43:53 UT
Partial eclipse begins: 20:01:43 UT
Maximum eclipse: 21:30:43 UT
Partial eclipse ends: 22:59:39 UT
Penumbral eclipse ends: 00:17:36 on 17 Jul UT


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Full Moon – Penumbral Eclipse

   Friday September 16th the full Moon, just one day after it was at descending node, passes through the Earth’s outer shadow. This sets up what is called a penumbral lunar eclipse, and during a penumbral eclipse the change in the brightness of the Moon does not decrease enough so that the eclipse is usually noticed. This eclipse will be visible across the continental United States.     The Earth has two distinct shadows, an inner and much darker umbra, and the outer and fainter penumbra as this graphic shows.
    For additional information about this or other eclipses go to the Hermit Eclipse web site.


Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to go to bobs-spaces.