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Friday, 9 December 2011


BAA electronic bulletin

This Saturday afternoon, on 10 December, there will be a total eclipse of
the Moon. Eclipses of the Moon occur when the Full Moon passes through the
cone of shadow cast by the Earth into space. The eclipse first becomes total
at 14:06 UT, reaches maximum at 14:32 UT, and ends at 14:57 UT. The partial
eclipse ends at 16:18 UT.

Unfortunately, from the UK, the Moon will already have started leaving the
umbra (the central, dark part of the Moon's shadow) well before moonrise,
and the observable part of the partial phase will last from moonrise until
16:18 UT.

>From London, Moonrise is at 15:51 UT, from Norwich it is at 15:39 UT and
from Sheffield at 15:46 UT. Accordingly observers in Eastern parts of the UK
will be able to see just the last 30-40 minutes of the partial phase,
provided they have a clear, unobstructed north-eastern horizon.

Sadly, from locations further north and west, with moonrise occurring later
in the afternoon, most of the partial phase will be over before the Moon
rises. Observers should go out at about the time of local Moonrise when, if
the sky is clear, the partially-eclipsed Moon may be glimpsed very low down,
close to the horizon, in the north-eastern sky.

One never quite knows how dark or how bright a lunar eclipse will be.
Everything depends on the conditions in the Earth's upper atmosphere through
which all light falling onto the shadowed Moon has to pass. There have been
eclipses when the Moon has been difficult to find even with a telescope,
while at other eclipses it has remained bright red or vividly coloured.

This total lunar eclipse takes place at the Moon's descending node in
eastern Taurus, four days after apogee.  The Moon's orbital trajectory takes
it through the southern half of Earth's umbral shadow. Although the eclipse
is not central, the total phase still lasts 51 minutes. Eastern Asia,
Indonesia, Australia and Japan are best placed for viewing this eclipse,
near midnight and with the Moon at a good altitude above the horizon.

Further information on this eclipse may be found at:

This e-bulletin issued by:
Dr John Mason
BAA Press and Publicity Officer
Email:  Tel: 07901 890061
2011 December 8
BAA-ebulletin mailing list
(c) 2011 British Astronomical Association

Good Clear Skies
Colin James Watling
Various Voluntary work-Litter Picking for Parish Council (Daytime) and also a friend of Kessingland Beach (Watchman)
Real Astronomer and head of the Comet section for LYRA (Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Regional Astronomers) also head of K.A.G (Kessingland Astronomy Group) and Navigator (Astrogator) of the Stars (Fieldwork)
Information -- More Info -- And More Info

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