Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2003 November 7
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November's Lunar Eclipse
Animation Credit & Copyright: Larry Koehn

Explanation: The Moon slides through the Earth's shadow this Saturday night / Sunday morning (November 8/9) giving skygazers in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and western Asia a chance to enjoy a total lunar eclipse. As lunar eclipses go, this will be a brief one though, with the total phase lasting only about 25 minutes. The orientation and relative size of the Earth's shadow and the Moon's trajectory are illustrated in this thoughtful animation showing the full Moon moving up from the lower right, entering the penumbra or outer portion of the shadow region, and then passing well below the center of the darker inner shadow region or umbra. The total eclipse phase begins at 1:06 Universal Time, November 9 (8:06pm EST Nov. 8) when the Moon is completely within the umbra. While the off-center passage guarantees a short total phase, it also makes it likely that this November's eclipsed Moon will be dramatically visible and colorful with a brighter rim along the southern edge.

Tomorrow's picture: lunar weekend

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