Skip to comments."Red Moon" heading our way
Posted on 11/05/2003 5:04:59 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
PARIS (AFP) - The Moon will turn a shade of red this Saturday when it will be fully eclipsed by the Earth, whose shadow will blot out all but a tiny fraction of solar light, astronomers said.
Total lunar eclipses occur when the Sun, the Earth and the Moon are all in alignment and the Moon travels into the broad cone of shadow cast by the Earth.
The Moon does not become invisible, though, because there is still residual sunlight that is deflected towards it by the Earth's atmosphere, most of which is light in the red part of the spectrum.
That causes the Moon to appear as a dark colour, usually a coppery red, orange or even brown.
The Earth's shadow will begin to creep over the Moon at about 2330 GMT on Saturday, Britain's Royal Astronomical Society said in a press statement received here.
The period of total eclipse will be relatively short, lasting from 0106 to 0131 GMT, and the last remnant of the shadow will leave the lunar face at 0305 GMT.
"We are not expecting the Moon to become very dark during this eclipse," the society's spokeswoman, Jacqueline Mitton, said. "It is likely to have a bright rim at its southern edge, which will only just be inside the shadow."
The entire event will be visible from Europe, northern and western Africa and some eastern parts of North and South America.
Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other parts of East Asia will be unable to see it, but regions in between will experience part of the eclipse around moonrise or moonset.
Total lunar eclipses occur roughly every couple of years.
Total solar eclipses happen when the Moon crosses between the Earth and the Sun. The next one of these will take place on November 23, but will be visible only from Antarctica.
NASA Photo ID: AS17-140-21494 File Name: 10075972.jpg Film Type: 70mm Date Taken: 12/13/72 Title: View of Lunar Roving Vehicle parked at Station 6 by Apollo 17 astronauts Description: This view shows the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) parked by an outcrop of rocks by Astronauts Eugene A. Cernan and Harrison H. (Jack) Schmitt during their visit to Extravehicular Activity Station 6 (Henry Crater). Subject terms: APOLLO 17 FLIGHT APOLLO PROJECT COLLECTION CRATERS LUNAR ROCKS LUNAR ROVING VEHICLES LUNAR SURFACE LUNAR SURFACE VEHICLES SAMPLES
Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 22:15:00 UT Partial Eclipse Begins: 23:32:21 UT Total Eclipse Begins: 01:06:07 UT Greatest Eclipse: 01:18:23 UT Total Eclipse Ends: 01:30:38 UT Partial Eclipse Ends: 03:04:24 UT Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 04:21:48 UT
The second lunar eclipse of the year occurs six lunations after the first. It takes place at the ascending node of Luna's orbit in Aries. This time, the Moon is 1.4 days shy of apogee and appears 12% smaller (= 29.4 arc-minutes) than it was during May's eclipse. The Moon's trajectory takes it well to the south of the umbral shadow's central axis resulting in a total eclipse which lasts just 25 minutes. At mid-totality, the Moon's southern limb is a scant 0.6 arc-minutes from the umbra's edge. Even the northern limb is 23.4 arc-minutes from the centre of the shadow. Assuming that the transparency of Earth's atmosphere remains relatively unchanged, the November eclipse will be dramatically brighter than the May event because of the shallow umbral depth. Since different parts of the Moon will probe radically different portions of Earth's umbral shadow, a large variation in shadow brightness can be expected. The totally eclipsed Moon will appear to have a bright rim along its southern edge.
November 9 is 11-9. 11-9, 9-11, hmmm. If they had anything saved this would be the time for them to do it.