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Penumbral Lunar Eclipse: March 14, 2006

Geographic Region: Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia

The first lunar eclipse of 2006 is a deep penumbral event best visible from Europe and Africa. First and last penumbral contacts occur at 21:22 UT and 02:14 UT (Mar 15), respectively. Observers throughout most of North America will find the eclipse already in progress as the Moon rises on the evening of March 14. However, no eclipse will be visible from westernmost North America (Yukon, British Columbia, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California) since the event ends there before moonrise.

This particular event is unusual since it is a total penumbral eclipse. The whole Moon will lie completely within the penumbral shadow from 23:18 UT to 00:18 UT (Mar 15). According to Belgian eclipse expert Jean Meeus [1997] this is one of only five such events during the 21st century.

Greatest eclipse occurs at 23:48 UT with a penumbral magnitude of 1.0565. At that instant, the Moon will stand midway in the penumbral shadow. The Moon's northern limb will lie 1.6 arc-minutes from the shadow's outer edge while the southern limb be 1.6 arc-minutes from the edge of the umbra.

Penumbral eclipses are difficult to observe, especially during the early and late stages. Nevertheless, a subtle yet distinct shading should be visible across the southern half of the Moon, especially during the two hour period centered on greatest eclipse.


Eclipse map and predictions courtesy of Fred Espenak - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.
For more information on solar and lunar eclipses, see Fred Espenak's Eclipse Home Page:






Lunar Eclipses for Students and Beginners!

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