June, 2012 Lunar Eclipse

Posted May 29, 2012 by User 1

With so much attention being focused on the June 5 Transit of Venus, the June 4 partial lunar eclipse has gone almost unnoticed. The reason for this is quite simple: it is a partial lunar eclipse. In other words, not only does this eclipse occur during the middle of the night when everyone is asleep but the moon is not even completely covered making the effort to be awake seem all the less rewarding.

However, this will be the last significant (ie. excluding penumbral) lunar eclipse until April 25, 2013 and the deepest until the total eclipse of April 15, 2014. For those who do not wish to wait so long, this will be the last opportunity to catch such an eclipse for quite some time. Furthermore, because the object of interest is the moon, not the sun, the eclipse is completely safe to view without any filters or eye protection. Viewing it thus becomes a simple matter of looking up at the right time from the right place.

This eclipse will be visible from all of the Pacific rim as well as many inland areas. Coincidentally, this area is roughly the same area that will see the transit the very next day. Penumbral eclipse begins at 08:48 UT and becomes a partial eclipse at 09:59 UT. Maximum eclipse occurs at 11:04 UT. The partial eclipse ends at 12:06 UT but the penumbral eclipse lasts until 13:18 UT. Partial eclipse lasts a total of 2 hours and 6 minutes. The entire eclipse, including penumbral eclipse, lasts 4 hours and 30 minutes. Penumbral eclipse is usually difficult to discern visually except in advanced stages.

A chart is provided by NASA with more detailed information about this particular eclipse: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEplot/LEplot2001/LE2012Jun04P.pdf


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