Lunar Eclipse: What To Expect

Tonight’s lunar eclipse will be subtle and difficult to detect. However, penumbra eclipses are visible to the naked eye under the right conditions.

The event will last for approximately four hours, beginning at 23:51 UTC. Viewers in Eastern Canada, Northeastern US, Africa, and Europe, have the best chance of seeing Earth’s shadow on the moon.

In the US and Canada, the eclipse will begin at 7:50 pm EDT. As reported by Accuweather, cloud cover may obscure the view in Canada. The current forecast is calling for clear skies across the northeastern United states.

All shadows have varying degrees of darkness. The shadow’s center is called the umbra. The umbra portion is the deepest and darkest portion. The penumbra is on the shadow’s outer edge, which is much lighter. The penumbra eclipse is faint, as the light source obscures the darkest part of the shadow.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse can be viewed without special equipment. Viewers can use binoculars or a telescope to enhance their view, but they are not necessary.

Those interested in seeing the event are encouraged to travel outside city limits. Clear, dark, and unobstructed, views are ideal for recognizing and recording the eclipse.

As reported by CBS News, the moon’s upper portion will remain clear and bright throughout the eclipse. Viewers should focus on the lower portion. The shadow will likely appear as a slight dimming along the lower half. For some viewers, the area may appear smudged rather than obscured or shadowed.

Unfortunately, many viewers will miss the subtle event. This will be the last visible eclipse this year.

Enthusiasts will have to wait until April 2014 for another visible eclipse. Next year’s event is expected to be more prominent, as some viewers will experience a total lunar eclipse.

[Image via Wikimedia]