Lunar Eclipse – Saturday, December 10, 2011


Are you ready for some good, old-fashioned observing fun? Although you might not want to get up early, it’s going to be worth your time. This Saturday, December 10, 2011, marks the last total lunar eclipse event for the western portion of the Americas until 2014. While a solar eclipse event has a very small footprint where it is visible, a lunar eclipse has a wide and wonderful path that encompasses a huge amount of viewers. “We’re all looking at this together,” says Sky & Telescope senior editor Alan MacRobert.

How much of the dawn lunar eclipse will be visible for you? For your location, this map tells what stage the eclipse will have progressed to by the time the Moon sets below your west-northwestern horizon. Credit: Sky & Telescope
If you live in the eastern portion of the Americas, sorry… You’ll miss out on this one. In the Central time zone, the Moon will be setting while it is partially eclipsed. However, beginning in a line that takes in Arizona and the Dakotas you’ll be treated to the beginning of the lunar eclipse, totality, and it will set as it is beginning to come out of eclipse. If you live in the western portion of the US or Canada? Lucky you! You’ll get to enjoy the Moon as it goes through the initial states of eclipse, see totality and even might catch the phases as it slips out of Earth’s shadow again – just as the Sun begins to rise. For Skywatchers in Hawaii, Australia, and East Asia, you’ll have it better. Seen from there, the whole eclipse happens high in a dark sky from start to finish. For Europe and Africa, the eclipsed Moon will be lower in the east during or after twilight on the evening of the 10th.

When exactly does the event begin? The lunar eclipse will be total from 6:05 to 6:57 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The partial stage of the eclipse begins more than an hour earlier, at 4:45 a.m. PST. Be sure to watch the southern lunar edge, too. Because the Moon will be skimming by the southern edge of the Earth’s shadow, it will remain slightly brighter and add to the dimensional effect you’ll see. Enjoy the coppery colors from the refracted sunlight! The Moon won’t be black – but it will most certainly be a very photogenic experience.

“That red light on the Moon during a lunar eclipse comes from all the sunrises and sunsets around the Earth at the time,” explains Sky & Telescope editor in chief Robert Naeye. “If you were an astronaut standing on the Moon and looking up, the whole picture would be clear. The Sun would be covered up by a dark Earth that was ringed all around with a thin, brilliant band of sunset- and sunrise-colored light — bright enough to dimly illuminate the lunar landscape around you.”

May clear skies be yours!

Original News Source: Sky and Telescope News Release. Image Credits: Sky and Telescope.

17 Replies to “Lunar Eclipse – Saturday, December 10, 2011”

  1. If you were in the northern rockies you could stand on top of the moutain while being lit by the sun and looking at the eclipse and know that you shadow (so to speak) was no the moon.

  2. Great, total lunar eclipse on my birthday and I’m on the wrong damn continent….. At least we have lions walking in the streets 😉

  3. ‘How much of the dawn lunar eclipse will be visible for you?’

    Hard to tell really, as I live in the UK….
    Would be nice if there was a link to a graph that covers europe.

    1. By over-laying the diagram on a world map and extrapolating the lines I think I’ve determined that the Moon will be rising as it enters the penumbra… so most of the eclipse will be visible if you have a good vantage point and no cloud (that’ll be rare in the UK ;))

  4. Can someone plz tell me at what time will it occur…
    observation point Mauritius..will it even be visible there!!!

    1. Doing the same as I did for my other comment in reply to VFRMark, it should be rising as it enters the penumbra. You’re more easterly, but you have the disadvantage of being on other side of the equator in Winter – your nights are shorter 😛

      I welcome corrections though because I could be way off.

    1. Completely didn’t see this post… good to see my back-of-the-envelope calculations were relatively sound though 😀

  5. if u were in india in the northern part u will be freaked out oh god i love it i will be an astrophysicist

  6. while im watching this i had notice the feelings inside of me should i say unexplainable feelings but i felt the slownest of the time,felt sleepiness,i felt some sadness around just dont know where it came from,you can say its a great impact to all beings……..

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