Total Lunar Eclipse 20th/21st February 2008
Just a heads up that a total eclipse of the Moon will be occuring during the night of Wednesday/Thrusday the 20th/21st February 2008. The entire event will be visible from South America and most of North America (on February 20th) as well as Western Europe, Africa, and western Asia (on February 21st). During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon’s disk can take on a dramatically colorful appearance from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and (rarely) very dark gray.
An eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon, and only if the Moon passes through some portion of Earth’s shadow. The shadow is actually composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other. The outer shadow or penumbra is a zone where Earth blocks some (but not all) of the Sun’s rays. In contrast, the inner shadow or umbra is a region where Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon.
If only part of the Moon passes through the umbra, a partial eclipse is seen. However, if the entire Moon passes through the umbral shadow, then a total eclipse of the Moon occurs. For more information on how, what, why, where and when of lunar eclipses, see the special web page lunar eclipses for beginners.
The following diagrams show the Moon’s path through Earth’s shadows (higher resolution versions of the above figure). The times of major stages of the eclipse are given for a number of time zones in North America. Please choose the diagram for your own time zone. Each diagram is a GIF file with a size of about 100k.
- Eclipse Diagram for AST (Atlantic Standard Time)
- Eclipse Diagram for EST (Eastern Standard Time)
- Eclipse Diagram for CST (Central Standard Time)
- Eclipse Diagram for MST (Mountain Standard Time)
- Eclipse Diagram for PST (Pacific Standard Time)
- Eclipse Diagram for AST (Alaska Standard Time)
- Eclipse Diagram for HST (Hawaiian Standard Time)
- Eclipse Diagram for GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
- Eclipse Diagram for GMT +1 (Greenwich Mean Time + 1 Hour)
- Eclipse Diagram for GMT +2 (Greenwich Mean Time + 2 Hours)
Some people may be puzzled that the Moon’s motion is from west to east (right to left) in these diagrams, instead of its daily east to west (left to right) motion in the sky. However, the Moon actually moves WEST to EAST (right to left in the Northern Hemisphere) with respect to the Earth’s shadow and the stars.
For full details of this Total Lunar Eclipse check out this NASA Page.