Here are three new words you’ll learn about today:
Syzygy – the alignment of three celestial bodies (this this case, the moon, earth and sun)
Umbra – it’s Latin for shadow and refers to the inner, darkest part of a shadow, which when if comes from a celestial body, means a total eclipse.
Penumbra – (nearly shadow) the region where some light is obscured; ie. a partial eclipse.
Tonight in Australia (sorry Perth, but not you), if the sky is clear, you’ll see a “blood moon” as it rises just after sunset from a total eclipse as the earth passes between the sun and moon.
That’s a syzygy when the moon turns red in the earth’s umbra.
While the Sydney Observatory is live blogging the event , the cloud cover is not looking kind.
To see it, they suggest trying the following.
To see it, look east, low on the horizon. If you can get to a headland, great, or a lookout somewhere, otherwise you’re struggle in the suburbs because when the blood moon ends, it will only be at 10-degrees above the horizon.
Here are the eclipse times for Australian cities
Adelaide: Moon rise 5.48pm; total eclipse ends 5.55pm; eclipse ends 7.03pm
Brisbane: Moon rise 5.27pm; maximum eclipse 5.46pm; total eclipse ends 6.25pm; eclipse ends 7.33pm.
Darwin: Moon rise 6.41pm; eclipse ends 7.33pm.
Hobart: Moon rise 5.33pm; maximum eclipse 5.46pm; total eclipse ends 6.25pm; eclipse ends 7.33pm.
Melbourne: Moon rise 5.49pm; total eclipse ends 6.25pm; clipse ends 7.33pm.
Sydney: Moon rise 5.28pm; maximum eclipse 5.46pm; total eclipse ends 6.25pm; eclipse ends 7.33pm.
If you miss this one, the good news is there are more on 8 October 2014, 4 April 2015 and September 28 2015. So this is the first exclipse of a tetrad (series of four).
The reason the moon is red is because sunlight is refracting and the shade of red depends on how much dust is swirling around the planet in the atmosphere.
Meanwhile, this amazing video from NASA explains why and how eclipses of the moon work.
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