Friday, August 15, 2008
Partial Lunar Eclipse, Sunday 17 August
On the morning of Sunday the 17th, we have a partial Lunar eclipse. Yes, I know that it will be horribly cold in the morning, but even though partial, and interrupted by twilight, the eclipse will be rather nice.
People in WA will have the best views of this, but everyone will see the Moon enter the darkest part of Earth's shadow and see at least 50% of the Moon covered. In WA the eclipse starts (ie when the Moon enters the darkest part of Earth's shadow) at 3:35 am, in central states it starts at 5:00 am and in the eastern states it starts at 5:35 am. Local lunar mid-eclipse rimes (when the Moon is as ark as it will get around 85% covered) for WA is 5:10 am, central locations 6:40 am and east coast locations is 7:10 am.
Twilight and Moonset will interfere with observations from Central and Eastern states, but central states should see about 60-70% of the Moon covered before it gets too light, and eastern states around 50%. With the Hyades and Pleiades in the sky, the odd stray Perseid meteor, and a morning ISS pass http://www.heavens-above.com/ it will be very nice indeed. Detailed information of contact times here http://home.mira.net/~reynella/skywatch/ssky.htm#Eclipse
While you are waiting, on the early evening of the 15th and 16th, Mercury and Saturn will pass each other. Then Venus and Mercury catch up with each other over the 18th to 20th.
So keep an eye on the early evening sky as well, there will be lots to see (if the weather doesn't mess us up that is).