Our Guide to this Friday’s Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Penumbral Eclipse
A subtle penumbral lunar eclipse from 2016. Image credit and copyright: Dave Walker.

Ready for the very first lunar eclipse of the year? The first eclipse season of 2020 comes to an end Friday, with a penumbral lunar eclipse. This season overlaps with 2019, when it kicked off with the Boxing Day annular solar eclipse of December 26th, 2019.

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Top Astronomical Events for 2020

Mars Opposition
Bright yellow Mars approaching a close opposition in July 2018 shines over the waters of Middle Waterton Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park in southwest Alberta on the Alberta-Montana border. Mars is so bright it produces a glitter path on the water. The Milky Way is at right. This was from Driftwood Beach, windy as always this night. The sky is tinted green with bands of airglow, though there was a dim aurora to the north this night as well, quite unexpected. Waterton Lakes is a World Heritage Site and a Dark Sky Preserve. This is a stack of ten exposures for the ground to smooth noise (and blur the wind-rippled water) at f/3.2, and a single exposure for the sky at f/2.2, all 30 seconds with the Sigma 24mm Art lens and Nikon D750 at ISO 6400. Taken July 11/12, 2018 at the end of a 6-hour session training the Dark Sky Guides staff. It was a superb night, with everything to see in the sky.

Ready for another amazing year of sky watching and astronomy in 2020? Hard to believe, were already a fifth of the way into the 21st century. 2020 rounds out the final year of the second decade, promising an amazing year of skywatching to come.

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