Saturday, December 18, 2010
Twilight Total Lunar Eclipse Tuesday 21 December
On the evening of Tuesday, December 21, there will be a total eclipse of the Moon. Unfortunately, for Australians it will only be seen in North-Eastern Australia, with Queensland getting the best view, followed by New South Wales.
For both these sites, the Moon rises around the end of totality, with deeper immersion for Queensland, the better the farther north you are.
As the eclipsed Moon will rise in the twilight, the twilight will wash out the appearance of the eclipsed Moon. However, the Moon should appear dimmer than normal, and as it rises there should be a gradual brightening of the southern part of the Moon, more easily seen as the sky darkens.
By the time the sky is fully dark, the Earth's shadow will have slipped off the Moon (actually, the darker inner shadow, the Moon will still be in the outer shadow, but it will not be visible under these conditions).
In Melbourne and Adelaide, the Moon rises with the eclipse almost over, and only the thinnest sliver of the Moon in Earths shadow. Northern Territory and WA see nothing.
New Zealand sees an even better eclipse, with totality occurring closer to the end of twilight. The best views are in the Americas.
UPDATE: For the folks who have been googling "can i look directly at the lunar eclipse on tuesday the 21st 2010" the answer is yes, you can (It's solar eclipses you have to be careful with).
Eastern horizon as seen from Cairns at 7:45 pm AEST on December 21.
As it happens there will be a partial solar eclipse that will pass over Africa and Eurasia on the next New Moon, on January 4th. The Americas and Asia-Pacific won't see it.
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