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Science & Space

Lunar eclipse on Tuesday night

By Joe Rao
SPACE.comexternal link

The lunar eclipse will primarily be visible from Asia, Africa and some of Europe.
The lunar eclipse will primarily be visible from Asia, Africa and some of Europe.
• Lunar eclipse broadcast:  Saros Groupexternal link
• Skywatcher's guideexternal link
Lunar eclipse

(SPACE.comexternal link) -- A total eclipse of the moon will occur on Tuesday, May 4, which is the third such event in less than a year's time.

The two previous lunar eclipses were on May 15-16 and November 8 last year. However, Tuesday's sky show will be reserved mostly for those living in the Eastern Hemisphere.

North America will miss out on the entire show, as the moon will be below the horizon during midday and afternoon hours. Weather permitting, some Europeans will have a chance to see the very end of the event.

The very best region to view this eclipse will be across western Asia, much of the Indian Ocean and the eastern two-thirds of Africa. The entire eclipse will be visible from this region.

The eclipse will actually begin when the moon enters the faint outer portion, or penumbra, of the Earth's shadow about an hour before it begins moving into the umbra.

The opening umbral stages of this eclipse will be visible at, or just before moonset, from much of central and eastern Asia (except northeast Siberia), most of Indonesia and Australia.

Across the eastern third of Australia (where the calendar will read May 5) the moon will set while still in total eclipse. Meanwhile much of central Australia will see the moon gradually emerging from the shadow as it sets.

The closing umbral stages of the eclipse will be available at, or soon after moonrise, from the western-third of Africa, Europe, and the eastern two-thirds of South America. Along the Atlantic coast of South America, from São Luís, Brazil and points east and south, the Moon will appear to rise totally eclipsed during the late afternoon of May 4.

Below is a schedule for the eclipse. Times for the eclipse are provided in Greenwich Mean Time or GMT. To adjust for time at a specific location, add or subtract the difference between the number of hours from GMT and the local standard time. If the difference passes beyond midnight, the calendar date becomes May 5.

17:51 - Moon enters penumbra

18:51 - Moon enters umbra

19:52 - Total eclipse begins

20:30 - Middle of the eclipse

21:08 - Total eclipse ends

22:12 - Moon leaves umbra

23:10 - Moon leaves penumbra

The next total lunar eclipse will occur on the night of October 28-29 and will favor most of the Americas, as well as western portions of Europe and Africa.

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