Monday, October 21, 2013


On Friday night (10/18/13) at approx 7:50pm EST, the outer blurry edge of Earth's shadow briefly (and very slightly) darkened the lower limb (visible edge) of the Moon.  I tried to explain to folks that this is probably not an event worthy of excitement unless you are an uber-astro nerd but there seemed to be a lot of disappointed outcry out there afterward.

To explain, this was a Partial Penumbral Eclipse.  A Total Penumbral Eclipse would only dim the entire surface of the Moon because only the fuzzy outer edge of the Earth's shadow (the penumbra) is blocking the Sun.   You don't get that eerie dark red appearance that a total lunar eclipse gives.

So this Partial Penumbral Eclipse was so slight that only folks that stare at the Moon on a regular basis could even notice and only cameras and telescopes would really be able to see a noticeable difference from the normal full Moon.

Here's a photo I took during the peak eclipse coverage.  This is a stacked image of 105 frames, processed in RegiStax6.  Notice the light shadow on the lower right limb? Yup, that would be the full extent of the action.

Definitely mark your calendars for the next FULL lunar eclipse on April 15, 2014.
105 frames, 1/80 sec, f8, ISO100