Wandering through the realms of the cosmos, pondering its huge vastness

November 28, 2012 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

There will be a penumbral lunar eclipse visible in the Philippines on November 28, 2012. Penumbral lunar eclipses occur when the Moon passes through Earth’s penumbral shadow.

Eclipse diagram. Image credit: eclipsegeeks.com

Here are the key times for the lunar eclipse based on information from NASA:

Penumbral eclipse starts – 12:14:58 UT (8:14 p.m. PHT)
Greatest eclipse – 14:33:00 UT (10:33 p.m. PHT)
Penumbral eclipse ends – 16:51:02 UT (12:51 a.m. PHT)

(Note: Philippine time is UT+8)

Unlike partial and total lunar eclipses, penumbral eclipses are not very noticeable. It is because the change of shade to the Moon is so small that hardly any difference can be seen compared to a normal Full Moon. You will not see a chunk on the moon taken out of one side; nor you’ll see the Moon turn red (as it does during a total lunar eclipse) for it will not pass through Earth’s umbral shadow.

The start and end of the eclipse will not be visible to the naked eye and cannot be detected without special equipment, like telescopes and binoculars. In fact, it is only during about 30 minutes before and after the eclipse’s maximum that a light grey shading will be seen along the moon’s northern limb.

The moon during a penumbral eclipse. Image credit: Fred Espenak

Although it is not that spectacular, this event still provides the opportunity to see dimming on the Moon’s surface.  Moreover, it’s also nice to spot the Moon near bright Jupiter and the bright star Aldebaran in the night sky during this event.

Moon near Jupiter and Aldebaran in Taurus – November 28, 2012 (scrrenshot image from Stellarium)

Remember, it is quite safe to watch a lunar eclipse with the naked eye. 🙂 Clear skies and happy viewing!

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