Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Last Total Lunar Eclipse Until 2014: December 10, 2011, The Moon Eclipses!

Last year's winter solstice eclipse (in 2010) was a true treat to astronomers, but this year's eclipse is even more significant. If you look through NASA's eclipse catalogs, you'll find that there is, in 2012 a partial and penumbral eclipse of the moon, in 2013, a partial and two penumbrals, but in 2014 the fun begins. Meanwhile, this eclipse on December 10, 2011 is the last total lunar eclipse until 2014. But this wait should be well-worth it. In 2014 and 2015, there are four total lunar eclipse back-to-back. That, in other words, means there are four total lunar eclipses in a row, called a 'tetrad.'

The above visibility map shows everything about how and when to view the eclipse. General information about this astronomical event is included below, courtesy of Wikipedia. This year, this event will take place in the constellation of Taurus, the bull. It is also part of Saros cycle 135.
Duration (hr:mn:sc)
Totality 00:51:08
Partial 3:32:15
Penumbral 5:56:21
P1 11:33:36 UTC
U1 12:45:43 UTC
U2 14:06:16 UTC
Greatest 14:31:49 UTC
U3 14:57:24 UTC
U4 16:17:58 UTC
P4 17:29:57 UTC

Thanks to Night Sky Info: The eclipse's partial phases begin at 4:46 A.M. PST (12:46 UT), when the Moon's leading edge enters the dark umbra of Earth's shadow, and the celestial show ends at 8:18 A.M. PST (16:18 UT), when the Moon's disk completely exits the umbra. Totality starts at 6:06 A.M. PST (14:06 UT) and ends at 6:57 A.M. PST (14:57 UT). This year's last eclipse is a total lunar eclipse on December 10, best visible from Asia and Australia. For people on the west coast of the United States and Canada the eclipse is in progress as the Moon sets, and observers throughout Europe and Africa will miss the early eclipse phases because they occur before moonrise.

Tetrad Dates and Times provided by NASA:

2014 Apr 15 07:46:48 Total 122 1.291 03h35m
Aus., Pacific, Americas
2014 Oct 08 10:55:44 Total 127 1.166 03h20m
Asia, Aus., Pacific, Americas
2015 Apr 04 12:01:24 Total 132 1.001 03h29m
Asia, Aus., Pacific, Americas
2015 Sep 28 02:48:17 Total 137 1.276 03h20m
e Pacific, Americas, Europe, Africa, w       

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