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March 3rd Lunar Eclipse Favors East Coast And Europe

The eclipse of March 3rd will be nearing its end when the Moon rises over most of North America. Only in New England, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces will the sky be fully dark before the end of totality. Click on the image for a larger version. Sky and Telescope illustration by Gregg Dinderman
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 01, 2007
Lucky skywatchers will witness a total lunar eclipse on Saturday evening, March 3rd. However, where you live will dictate whether you'll get to enjoy this grand celestial spectacle in prime time -- or watch the full Moon rise after it's all over. In the U.S. and Canada, the eclipse strongly favors those east of the Mississippi River, who'll see the Moon completely engulfed by Earth's shadow as night falls. Farther west, the Moon is only partly in shadow by the time it rises (at sunset).

Unfortunately, for anyone west of the Rockies, even the event's partial phase ends before moonrise.

Only in New England, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces does the sky become fully dark with the Moon still totally eclipsed. Farther east, the entire eclipse can be viewed from Europe, Africa, and western Asia, where it occurs late at night or before dawn on March 4th.

Below are key event times for the eclipse, given for five North American time zones; compare these with your times of local sunset and moonrise, which depend on your location (dashes: event not visible):

                             AST         EST         CST         MST       PST
Partial eclipse begins     5:30 p.m.      --          --          --        --
Total eclipse begins       6:44 p.m.   5:44 p.m.      --          --        --
Total eclipse ends         7:58 p.m.   6:58 p.m.   5:58 p.m.      --        --
Partial eclipse ends       9:12 p.m.   8:12 p.m.   7:12 p.m.   6:12 p.m.    --
Last shading visible?      9:50 p.m.   8:50 p.m.   7:50 p.m.   6:50 p.m.    --

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon form a nearly straight line in space, so that the full Moon passes through Earth's shadow. Unlike a solar eclipse, which requires special equipment to observe safely, you can watch a lunar eclipse with your unaided eyes. Binoculars or a telescope will enhance the view dramatically.

The outer part of Earth's shadow, called the penumbra, creates only a slight dusky shading on the lunar disk. But as the Moon begins to move into the central and darkest part of Earth's shadow, the umbra, there's an obvious and ever-larger "bite" in the full Moon. The partial eclipse is then under way.

The total eclipse begins when the Moon is fully within the umbra. On March 3rd, totality lasts 1 hour 14 minutes. But the Moon likely won't disappear completely. It usually glows as an eerie, coppery red disk in the sky, as sunlight scattered around the edge of our atmosphere paints the lunar surface with a warm glow. This is light from all the sunrises and sunsets that are in progress around Earth at the time.

It's been 2.5 years since the last total lunar eclipse, on October 27, 2004. The next one, on August 28, 2007, will favor skywatchers in western North America over those in the east.

Related Links
March Lunar Eclipse at Sky and Telescope
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It
Solar and Lunar Eclipses at Skynightly

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Lunar Eclipse On March 3
Huntsville AL (SPX) Feb 13, 2007
Picture this: The year is 2025 and you're on the moon. "Home" is 100 meters away-an outpost on the rim of Shackleton Crater. NASA started building it five years earlier, and it is growing fast. You're one of the construction workers. As always in these polar regions, the sun hangs low, barely above the craggy lunar horizon. You adjust your visor. It amazes you how bright a low sun can be when there's no atmosphere to dim it.

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