Added by Yet Wha Lam
21st Sep 2015

The Blood Moon Returns

In the early hours of 28th September 2015 there will be a total eclipse of the moon. Though not as rare or as spectacular as a solar eclipse it is still a rare event and interesting in itself. The last total lunar eclipse visible in the UK was 21st February 2008. Totality for this eclipse will last just over an hour with the full cycle from first contact to last contact lasting over 5 hours.

As with a solar eclipse no two lunar eclipses are the same. As the Earth’s shadow crosses the face of the moon you will see a normal bright full moon become dull fading in brightness before taking on a red hue. The moon never completely disappears during a total lunar eclipse. It is due to a small amount of sunlight bending around, or refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere and into its shadow. Because of the refractive properties of the atmosphere, light from the blue end of the visible spectrum is scattered, while light from the red end is more readily passed. The result is a reddish cast to the Earth’s shadow, the Moon taking on the same red hue. The colour of the lunar eclipse is dependent upon the clarity of the Earth’s upper atmosphere. A vivid eclipse will be seen when the air is free of particulate matter while a darker eclipse occurs when the atmosphere is polluted with foreign particles.

P1: 00:11 UT (GMT) or 01:11 BST - First penumbral contact

U1: 01:08 UT/ 02:08 BST – First umbral contact

U2: 02:11 UT/ 03:11 BST – Start of Totality

Max: 02:48 UT/ 03:48 BST

U3: 03:25 UT/ 04:25 BST – End of Totality

U4: 04:28 UT/ 05:28 BST

P2: 05:25 UT/ 06:25 BST – End of the eclipse

The next total lunar eclipse visible in the UK 21/01/2019.

For more information go to this address



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Image: SH-157 Claw Nebula

by Martin Stirland