Stargazers will have the opportunity tonight to see the first lunar eclipse of the decade
Stargazers will have the opportunity to see the first lunar eclipse of the decade tonight as the outer shadow of the Earth passes over the Wolf Moon
- 2020 starts with an amazing celestial representation with a penumbral solar eclipse
- A penumbral solar eclipse happens when the sun, moon and earth align imperfectly
- It is best viewed in Europe, Africa and West Asia from 10:00 p.m.
Stargazers will have the opportunity tonight to see the first lunar eclipse of the decade as the outer shadow of the Earth passes over the full Wolf Moon.
It will not be an obvious change, for it is a “penumbral solar eclipse” – this is where the diffuse outer shadow of the earth falls on the face of the moon.
Unlike a full or partial solar eclipse where the moon is completely or partially hidden, the only visible change is a dark shadow over the natural satellite.
The phenomenon starts at around 5 p.m. GMT and is expected to end at around 9 p.m. GMT, although it is probably only visible halfway around 7 p.m. GMT.
It will be most clearly visible in Europe, Africa and West Asia and can be seen in the east-northeastern sky, astronomers confirmed.
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The moon during the peak of a penumbral solar eclipse depicted in Pakistan in 2017 – the best place to view the solar eclipse is in Europe, Africa and West Asia
Bonnie Diamond, a spokesperson for the Met Office, said “beautiful clear skies” for South East England in the evening.
But she added that skies in the western parts of the country can be more cloudy, with heavy rainfall expected in Northern Ireland and Scotland in the late afternoon.
There are between two and five lunar eclipses a year and about a third of them will be a penumbral solar eclipse, astronomers say.
The penumbra eclipses occur when the sun, moon and earth are not perfectly aligned, causing the outer shadow of the earth (penumbra) to be cast over the moon.
This also blocks the sun, meaning that parts of the light cannot reflect on the surface of the mane, making it appear darker in the sky.
“Because the penumbra is much weaker than the dark core of the Earth’s shadow, the umbra, a penumbral solar eclipse, is often difficult to distinguish from a normal full moon,” said Time and date.
There are three types of lunar eclipse: partial, total and penumbral and each occurs about a third of the time, according to experts.
A total eclipse is where the inner part of the Earth’s shadow (the umbra) lands on the face of the satellite and is shaded halfway through the entire moon.
A partial eclipse is where the navel takes a piece from the moon, getting bigger as it passes over the face – but never enough to completely cover it up.
For a penumbral solar eclipse to take place, the moon must be full and the sun, earth and moon must all be “almost” aligned, but not as close as during a partial solar eclipse.
The best chance to see the eclipse is right at the center when the moon appears to be slightly darker than normal – although almost indistinguishable from a normal full moon.
It will not be an obvious change, because it is a penumbral solar eclipse where the diffuse outer shadow of the earth falls on the face of the moon
It is impossible to observe the beginning and end of a penumbral solar eclipse without a telescope, according to Time and Date.
“We will not see the same dramatic dimming and red that are visible during a total lunar eclipse,” said Ed Bloomer, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
“Unfortunately, we will not get it until 2021, although there are still three penalbral eclipses to look forward to in 2020.”
All four lunar eclipses in 2020 are penalized, the others happen in June, July and November. However, they will not all be as visible as those of January.
The next total lunar eclipse will not take place until May 2021, but there will be an annual and total solar eclipse this year.
The annual solar eclipse takes place in June and the total coverage takes place in December.
The full moon of January is called a wolf moon, because the wolf collections were first born after a long winter in Native American culture.
The next full moon will take place on February 9, also known as a snow moon.
WHAT IS A LUNAR ECLIPSE?
An eclipse occurs when a planet or moon passes between another planet, moon or the sun.
Depending on their jobs, they can be wholly or partially.
A lunar eclipse is a specific event that occurs when the earth is directly in line between the sun and the moon.
When this happens, the earth blocks the light from the sun to the moon. The shadow of the earth then falls on the moon.
During a lunar eclipse we can see the shadow of the earth on the moon.
They can last several hours, but it is rare that a total eclipse period lasts longer than 100 minutes.
At least two lunar eclipses occur every year.
The moon will also be slightly closer to the earth, making it appear brighter than normal, called a Super Moon. These unique factors, combined, result in a ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’. This image shows how a lunar eclipse occurs