Partial lunar eclipse 4 June

A map of the Earth showing the regions of eclipse visibility. Graphic: Fred Espenak/NASA/GSFC

The transit of Venus is not the only event taking place this month; a partial lunar eclipse takes place on 4 June (UT) and although it lacks the beauty of a copper-coloured moon at a total eclipse, there is still a very real fascination to be had from seeing a large chuck ‘bitten out’ of the Moon. As with all eclipses, only certain parts of the world are favoured to lesser or greater degrees, with large parts of the Earth missing out completely. Look out for it in much of the Americas, the Pacific, East Asia and Australia. The Earth’s umbral (the central, darker part) shadow will reach 38 percent into the lunar disc at 11.03 UT, plunging much of the Moon’s southern hemisphere into darkness. Before the main partial eclipse, the Moon enters the Earth penumbral shadow (the outer, much dimmer part), but the effect is very subtle.

Sky gazers on the Hawaiian Islands will be amongst the first to see the eclipse and all of it too, with the penumbral shadow making its subtle presence felt on 3 June at 10.48pm local time in Honolulu. The Moon will be 40 degrees up already, so from dark sites and, hopefully a transparent sky, something will be seen. The main event starts at midnight with mid partial eclipse at 1.04am. By just after 2am the Moon moves out of the umbral shadow and the whole thing ends at 3.18am…
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