Tonight’s 97% Lunar Eclipse

I’m posting this earlier than normal tonight since I want anyone who reads this (all 10 or 12 of you!) to have the information on tonight’s partial lunar eclipse. Go here to follow along with the schedule – we’re starting in a touch over three hours!

First of all, this is a lunar eclipse, not a solar eclipse. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the cautions about watching a solar eclipse ONLY with proper eye protection. (Who wants to go blind?) But this is a lunar eclipse, so just relax and watch it with ye olde naked eye! Get a lawn chair or blanket, kick back, stay warm, watch the show!

In short, the show starts with the penumbral eclipse as the Moon enters the “outside ring” of the Earth’s shadow. Not much to see, some dimming. That will start at 06:02 UTC (22:02 PST Thursday night on the US west coast, 01:02 EST Friday morning on the US east coast).

The real action starts when the Moon enters the umbra, the “inner ring” of the Earth’s shadow. You’ll start to see dimming of the Moon’s left-hand limb, growing over the next ninety or so minutes. That will start at 07:18 UTC (23:02 PST Thursday night on the US west coast, 02:02 EST Friday morning on the US east coast).

The maximum eclipse (97% covered) will be at 09:02 UTC (01:02 PST Friday morning on the US west coast, 04:02 EST Friday morning on the US east coast).

Then it all just runs backwards as the Moon starts to exit the umbra, which finishes at 10:47 UTC (02:47 PST Friday morning on the US west coast, 05:47 EST Friday morning on the US east coast).

This, of course, all assumes that it’s not cloudy.

If it’s cloudy, you can follow along live at a number of sites, such as these:

Finally, will it be clear, or at least clear-ish, here in Los Angeles tonight? Well…maybe. Right now it’s about the same as last night, when we had an ISS rising. Speaking of which, just seconds before a Zoom event that I had tonight, there was another really nice ISS pass. And the clouds?

Rising from the west! I wish that I had fewer overhead lines and aircraft, but that isn’t going to happen in Los Angeles. ISS coming from the horizon to straight overhead and then some with the “light bucket” lens, Venus setting near the bottom. And as it goes over we do a quick flip…

…to watch it disappear and fade near the northeastern horizon.

Still a few clouds.

So now, we’re 3:11:20 out from the start of the eclipse. Clear skies!!

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