image by Ack Ook on Flickr
27 December 2009 16:52
by Miss Cellania
On December 31st, we will see the second full moon of the month, or the 13th full moon of the year. These rare occasions are called a blue moon, as in “once in a blue moon”. But that’s not the only thing special about New Year’s Eve this year. There will also be a partial lunar eclipse on the 31st (visible in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia)!
Only a very small portion of the Moon’s southern limb will be in the Earth’s umbral shadow, but there will be a noticeable darkening visible over the Moon’s face at the point of greatest eclipse. Need more? Then know this eclipse is the one of four lunar eclipses in a short-lived series. The lunar year series repeats after 12 lunations or 354 days. Afterwards it will begin shifting back about 10 days in sequential years. Because of the date change, the Earth’s shadow will be about 11 degrees west in sequential events.
For the eclipse, the duration of the partial phase will last within two seconds of a hour long, while the penumbral duration from beginning to end will run about four hours and eleven minutes. Penumbral contact will begin at 17:17:08 UT and umbral contact at 18:52:43 UT. The moment of greatest depth of shadow will occur at 19:22:39 UT, 31 December 2009.
(image credit: Kostian Iftica)
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