Saturday 19 January 2019

Total Lunar Eclipse to be visible from the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Pacific and parts of Asia.

A total Lunar Eclipse will occur on Sunday 21 January 2019, starting at about 2.35 am GMT. It will be visible across the entire of the Americas, plus Iceland, Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia, parts of Spain, and the Russian Arctic. Part of the eclipse will be visible from remaining areas of Europe and Africa as well as the islands of the Pacific, west and northeast Asia, although in these areas the Moon will either rise part way through the eclipse, or set before it is complete in these areas.

Areas from which the 21 January 2019 Lunar Eclipse will be visible. In the white area the full extent of the eclipse will be visible, in the shaded areas it will either begin before the Moon rises or end after the Moon has set, while in the darkest area it will not be visible at all. HM Nautical Almanac Office.

The Moon produces no light of its own, but 'shines' with reflected light from the Sun. Thus at Full Moon the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth to the Sun, and its illuminated side is turned towards us, but at New Moon the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun, so that its illuminated side is turned away from us.

 How the phases of the Moon are caused by the relative positions of the Earth, Sun and Moon. Karl Tate/

Lunar eclipses occur when the Moon passes through the Earth's shadow. This can only happen at Full Moon (unlike Solar Eclipses, which happen only when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sum, and therefore only occur at New Moon), but does not happen every Lunar Month as the Sun, Moon and Earth are not in a perfect, unwavering line, but rather both the Earth and the Moon wobble slightly as they orbit their parent bodies, rising above and sinking bellow the plane of the ecliptic (the plane upon which they would all be in line every month). 

 Phases of the Lunar Eclipse that will be seen on 21 January 2019. The times are given in GMT, to the nearest 10th of a minute, thus 03.33.5 represents 30 seconds after 3.33 am GMT. HM Nautical Almanac Office.

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