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Wake up, SkyWatchers! A partial lunar eclipse is coming your way on June 26, 2010. While the real visible action will be best in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, observers to the east will be able to catch the beginning of the lunar eclipse and observers to the west will catch the end of the eclipse. Who, what, when and where? Step inside and find out…
A major section of western North and South America is in for treat as they will be able to see the beginning stages. These areas include Western Brazil, western Venezuela, and South American countries west of these locations. Believe it or not, a section of the southeastern United States will even be able to witness the eclipse – if it’s not raining!
The dividing line runs through the state of Georgia following a diagonal path north to Minnesota. States west of this line will also be within range of seeing the entire event until sunrise. On the west coast of the United States, the Moon will slide into umbral eclipse at 3:16 a.m. PDT, be deepest in shadow at 4:38 a.m. PDT, and the eclipse ends at 6:00 a.m. PDT – right about dawn. Locations that will be able to see the entire partial eclipse include the Pacific islands such as Hawaii, Polynesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and most of Japan and the Philippines. Regions such as eastern China, the east edge of the USSR, Indonesia and the Thailand area will be able to see the very end of the 2010 partial lunar eclipse.
At the instant of greatest eclipse, the umbral eclipse magnitude will reach 0.5368. At that time the Moon will be at the zenith for observers in the South Pacific. If you think watching a partial eclipse would be boring – then why not challenge yourself? Set up your telescope, aim at the Moon and get comfortable. If your knowledge of selenography permits, crank up the magnification and watch particular craters as the shadow sweeps over them. If you’ve never done this, you’re in for a wonderful time! It’s very much like watching an Earthly cloud shadow travel across the landscape. If you have an eyepiece camera, try taking some video footage and share on You Tube! What craters and when? Here’s a chart…
In spite of the fact that barely half of the Moon enters the umbral shadow (the Moon’s northern limb dips 16.2 arc-minutes into the umbra), the partial phase still lasts 2 hours and 40 minutes. Now that’s plenty of time to enjoy a peaceful sky event, some coffee and danish before the day gets busy!
Wishing you clear skies….
All images,charts and information are courtesy of NASA.