The Harvest Moon: final eclipse of the tetrad has begun!

The final eclipse of the current lunar eclipse tetrad (a series of four consecutive total eclipses) is underway.  The perigee full moon (sometimes called a supermoon) has entered the Earth’s penumbra.  This is a subtle effect, and for those of us experiencing moonrise, pretty much impossible to distinguish from the colors lent to the Moon by particles in our atmosphere.

But it’s gonna get better.  At 8:07 PM CDT (1:07 UTC), the Moon will make its first contact with the umbra, the deep part of the Earth’s shadow where we will see what looks like a big bite out of the Moon.  It will slip deeper and deeper, until at 9:11 PM CDT (2:11 UTC), it is fully eclipsed.  With the eclipse happening near perigee, the Moon is passing through a wider part of the Earth’s shadow, and the eclipse will last much longer than the last one — maximum eclipse will be at 9:48 PM CDT (2:48 UTC), and at 10:23 PM CDT (3:23 UTC), the Moon will begin to exit the umbra.  Partial eclipse ends at 11:27 PM CDT (4:27 UTC) and penumbral eclipse ends at 12:22AM (5:22 UTC).

So, if you have clear night or evening skies in about twenty minutes, go outside and take a peek.  😉  You can use a telescope, but you don’t really need to in order to enjoy this event.  One of the great things about a lunar eclipse is you need no special equipment.

Eclipse chart (PDF) from NASA

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