Total Eclipse of the Moon – Tonight

Phases of the Eclipse of the Moon. Image Astronomy Ireland.

Diamond Valley Dwellers and all others in the country should get out on their balconies / in their gardens from 10pm tonight to see what will be the only FULL ECLIPSE OF THE MOON for the next 5 years. An added bonus will be the sight of the international space station which is visible to the naked eye, in our skies from June 14th to June 23rd (it looks like the very biggest brightest star) and will pass over the eclipse at 10.12pm. Observers towards the east of the country will see the Moon rise covered in a deep red colour, while observer to the west will see moost of the Moon obscured by the darkness of Earth’s shadow.

Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon. The Moon gets darker and darker, and almost completely blacked out. But instead of turning black it begins to glow an eerie red colour. This is due to red light curving through Earth’s atmosphere – like a sunset – and shining on the Moon. All other colours don’t curve in the same way, so only red is seen.

Timetable for Lunar Eclipse, June 2011

10:00pm Totality approaches end At this point the Moon will be rising towards the east of the country, and viewers will be able to see a red colour on the Moon.
10:10pm Partial eclipse At this point the Moon will be rising in the south east, and skywatchers everywhere will see a thin sliver of the Moon peeking out from behind the shadow
10:30pm Partial eclipse Roughly half the Moon will be covered by Earth’s shadow, and it will be located well above the horizon.
11:02pm End of partial eclipse The last bit of the covered Moon will leave the centre of Earth’s shadow, and will be fully visible. It will be slightly dimmer than usual, as it’s still in Earth’s penumbral shadow
12:00am End of eclipse If you watch carefully between 11pm and midnight, you may notice the Moon getting brighter as it leaves the outer – or penumbral – shadow. This marks the end of the eclipse.
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The editor of this diary lives in Diamond Valley, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Diamond Valley is a modern apartment community in the old setting of the Valley of Diamonds, alongside the river Dargle. Contact editor@diamondvalley.ie
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