Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rare "Selenelion" Lunar Eclipse Early Wednesday Morning

If you're an early riser and we're lucky enough for skies to clear, a lunar eclipse will be visible tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 6:25 (partial eclipse will start around 5:14am).  A lunar eclipse is when the sun, the moon, and the Earth are aligned just right for the Earth's shadow to cover the moon, usually turning it a reddish-orange.

A Lunar Eclipse
The interesting part about this one is that viewers will be able to see a full lunar eclipse occur simultaneously with a rising sun (called a Selenelion event).  There will only be a short window (2 to 9 minutes) to watch the sun rise in the east with a full eclipsed moon setting in the west.  Binoculars or a telescope will help a great deal as a brightening sky will quickly start to fade the semblance of the moon.
As for viewing conditions, it's a tough call here across western Virginia.  A disturbance is working its way across the area this evening producing lots of clouds and showers.  Rain will end and skies should break just in time for eclipse viewing, but it's going to be close.  I'm leaning towards it clearing up enough just in time.  The next full lunar eclipse will occur April 4, 2015.

Current Visible Satellite

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