November 28 – Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

The penumbral lunar eclipse is scheduled to occur on November 28, 2012. This lunar eclipse will be the second one of its kind of 2012, with the other one being the partial lunar eclipse on June 4. This eclipse will be one among the four eclipses that will occur this year. The other eclipses scheduled to occur in 2012 are:

  • Annular solar eclipse on May 20
  • Partial lunar eclipse on June 4
  • Total solar eclipse on November 13

Understanding Lunar Eclipses
A lunar eclipse happens when the moon makes a pass behind the earth. This results in the earth blocking the sun’s rays from reaching the moon. For a lunar eclipse to occur, an alignment of the moon, sun and the earth has to take place simultaneously. This also means that for a lunar eclipse to take place there must be a full moon. The last total lunar eclipse happened in June of 2011.
The occurrence of the lunar eclipse has fascinated man throughout time. In the early Egyptian kingdom, people believed that this eclipse was the result of a sow swallowing the moon. There are two types of penumbral eclipses: partial and total eclipse. The one occurring on November 28 is a total eclipse.
In a penumbral eclipse, light from the sun is partially covered by the earth. This is because of the moon’s entry into the earth’s penumbral shadow. This action results in giving the appearance that the moon appears dimmer. An observer from the earth sees the sun’s image obscured, allowing them to experience a partial solar eclipse.

Where To See The Eclipse
To see the eclipse in all its glory, you must be in the following locations: North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia (the whole eclipse). The penumbral eclipse will start at 12:14:58 Universal coordinated time (UTC). The most profound moment of the eclipse will occur at 14:33 UTC and the eclipse will end at 16:51:02 UTC. The magnitude of the eclipse will be 0.9155.
It is imperative to note that the penumbral lunar eclipses are not easy to notice. This is because of the earth’s shadow brushing the moon’s face. If you are not careful in checking the intricate details of the eclipse and the precise timing involved, there is a good chance that you could miss it entirely. Your best opportunity to fully experience the eclipse is to use a powerful telescope.
At the greatest percentage of the eclipse, only 0.3705% of the moon is covered by the earth’s shadow. To many sky watchers, the penumbral lunar eclipse is rather boring compared to other astronomical phenomena.

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