Lunar Eclipse of November 28, 2012
Eclipse to start around 515 am MST

 

Most residents of North America will be able to view the initial phase of a lunar eclipse on the morning of November 28, 2012.  In New Mexico, the lunar eclipse will begin around 515 am MST, as the moon begins to pass through the Earth's penumbral shadow.

 

A lunar eclipse occurs only during a full moon, when moon passes through the shadow of the earth (see diagram below).  During a total lunar eclipse, the moon often has a vibrant red-orange hue, as as shown in the photograph to the right, taken by Becky Ramotowski in Tijeras in 2009. 

Since moon set will occur at 649 am MST, viewing from New Mexico will end prior to the   greatest eclipse, which occurs at is at 734 am. You will need a a clear view of the western horizon to view this event.

 

However, several additional night sky objects will be visible during the predawn hours.  There will be a pass of the International Space Station at 557 am MST starting from the north-northwest and ending in the east around 605 am MST.  You may also notice Venus near Saturn during the ISS pass in the eastern sky, and also Mercury which will be low - below and left of Venus and visible as a peach-colored speck.

 

For more details on this lunar eclipse, vist the NASA lunar eclipse site.

NASA also has a lunar and solar eclipse page.

For some photos from previous lunar eclipse events, see the NASA Science article and the NASA Astronomy picture of the day, with another example here.

 
Lunar Eclipse Details

Earth's shadow is cone-shaped and is defined by two areas.  The umbra is the darkest portion of the earth's shadow (dark gray in the figure to the right) and is the are where the sun's light is completely blocked.  The penumbra is the transitional area between the regions of total shadow and total illumination (light gray on the figure).  As the moon moves from the penumbra to the umbra during a total lunar eclipse, the illuminated moon will take on the orange or red glow.

graphic of Earths shadow on moon

 


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