Tonight there will be a full Moon and a total lunar eclipse! We'll get a good view across Europe because the Moon starts to move into the Earth's shadow in early evening so this will be great for observations even with children.
The first lunar eclipse of 2011 occurs at the Moon's ascending node in southern Ophiuchus about 7° west of the Lagoon Nebula (M8). The Moon passes deeply through Earth's umbral shadow during this rather long event. The total phase itself lasts 100 minutes. The last eclipse to exceed this duration was in July 2000. The Moon's contact times with Earth's umbral and penumbral shadows are listed below.
- Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 17:24:34 UT
- Partial Eclipse Begins: 18:22:56 UT
- Total Eclipse Begins: 19:22:30 UT
- Greatest Eclipse: 20:12:37 UT
- Total Eclipse Ends: 21:02:42 UT
- Partial Eclipse Ends: 22:02:15 UT
- Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 23:00:45 UT
Click on the image to see a complete information sheet about the eclipse by Fred Espenak.
When totality begins the moon is expected to take on a reddish glow. It's a stunning sight and yep, you can look directly at it with no problem of hurting your eyes. It will be fun to take some pictures. If you want to, you can send them to us and we will publish them on our website.