Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
There is a partial eclipse of the moon visible before dawn on Saturday, June 26, visible to those living in the western half of the United States, Canada or South America. The best view in the U.S. will be from the Pacific states, just before sunrise Saturday. Everyone in Mexico and Central America can also see the partial eclipse – everyone willing to wake up before dawn on Saturday morning.
Some will see it and think it is an ordinary waxing or waning crescent moon. However, you will know it is an eclipse – a full moon partly submerged in Earth’s shadow – as shown in the image below. (Image Credit: Moogpartytime)
A partial eclipse of the moon takes place when the full moon is partly immersed in Earth’s shadow. At the eclipse of June 26, 2010 about half of the moon will be in shadow, much like the image above.
Today’s sky chart shows stars near the moon as the lunar eclipse takes place. This chart shows the view from the west coast of the United States. No, that is not a crescent moon on our chart, but a full moon partially obscured by the Earth’s shadow. Our chart cannot adequately convey the look of a lunar eclipse, with its mysterious shadow and the subtleties of color befalling the lunar terrain. The darkness of the shadow on the eclipsed moon depends on atmospheric conditions. Since it’s a partial eclipse – not a total one – it’s doubtful you’ll see the coppery color characteristic of total lunar eclipses, caused by sunlight refracted and dispersed in the Earth’s atmosphere. But try to notice the shadow’s color, and tell us what you see.
In the U.S., it will be next to impossible to see this eclipse anywhere east of the Mississippi River. In other words, the moon will set before the eclipse takes place. Even in the American Midwest, the lunar eclipse will be hard to see because it will be obscured in the early morning twilight. The best view of the eclipse will be from the Pacific states, during the dark hour before dawn.
On June 26, the eclipse starts at 10:17 Universal Time (5:17 a.m. Central Time, 4:17 a.m. Mountain Time or 3:17 a.m. Pacific Time). Mid-eclipse, or the greatest eclipse, falls at 11:38 Universal Time (6:38 a.m. Central Time, 5:38 a.m. Mountain Time or 4:38 a.m. Pacific Time). The moon reaches full at 11:32 UT.
The whole production lasts for over 2.5 hours.
Elsewhere around the world. This eclipse can be seen in its entirety from the Hawaiian Islands and the southern half of Alaska, starting at or somewhat after midnight tonight. As seen from East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the eclipse will be visible on Saturday evening. No eclipse takes place in India, western Asia, the Middle East, Africa or Europe.
A lunar eclipse can only happen at full moon, when the moon stands most opposite the sun in the Earth’s sky for the month. Most months, the full moon eludes the Earth’s dark shadow by passing to the north or to the south of it. This month, however, the northern half of the moon sweeps right through the Earth’s shadow. Watch for the partial lunar eclipse Saturday morning, June 26!