BOSTON (CBS) — Earlier this week we told you about a near total Lunar Eclipse happening Thursday night. I sort of downplayed it given the forecast for clouds and rain. Today, I am here to say, don’t give up! We just might have a chance of catching the end of the eclipse tonight as the clouds are clearing! It’s going to be tight as the clouds will be in the process of clearing while the eclipse is in full swing.
The eclipse/weather timeline:
1:00 a.m. Penumbra First Visible: This is the lighter shadowing portion and likely not very visible to the naked eye
Forecast: Cloudy just about everywhere in southern New England with a widespread light to moderate rain falling
2:18 a.m. Partial Eclipse Begins: The real show is starting with a dark and very visible shadow now creeping on to the very top part of the Moon
Forecast: Back edge of the rain in Worcester County. . . still raining in most of eastern Mass. Clouds beginning to clear in Vermont and western Mass.
4:03 a.m. Maximum Eclipse Occurs: 97% of the moon will be in the Earth’s shadow at this time with just a sliver of light remaining on the lower left-hand side of the moon
Forecast: The back edge of the rain now around the 495/128 area in eastern Mass. Skies are now starting to clear as far east as Worcester County and western New Hampshire. Translation, if you want to see the maximum eclipse, head west! There is a decent chance the folks west of Worcester will get a good view by 4 a.m.!
By the way, the moon is officially full at 3:59 a.m. (Full Beaver Moon)
5:47 a.m. The Partial Eclipse Ends: The light returns to the moon with the last bit of shadow exiting the far right-hand side. Show is basically over at this point.
Forecast: It is a race against time! The clouds should be clearing eastern Mass. between 5-6 a.m. (except for the Cape and Islands which will be last to clear). There is at least a 50-50 chance that you will get to see the last portion of the eclipse before it is over in most of southern New England!
7:06 a.m. The Penumbral Eclipse Ends: Again, the show really ends at 5:47 a.m. as the moon exits the Earth’s umbral shadow. However, for those viewing with more than just the naked eye, you will still see some light shadowing on the moon in the 6 a.m. hour as the Earth is still within the penumbral shadow.
Forecast: Of course, now that the eclipse is over, we can also say that all of southern New England will be mainly clear.
Couple of notes…
If you do plan to get up early and take a chance Friday morning, the temperatures won’t be all that cold. Thanks to the blanket of clouds most of the night, most of the area will stay in the 40s.
This eclipse is the longest lasting partial eclipse since 1440! And we won’t have a longer one until the year 2669! The full time of this eclipse is just over 6 hours. This is due to the eclipse occurring very close to apogee (the point at which the Moon is farthest from Earth in its orbit). The farther away the Moon, the slower it travels.
You might remember the last eclipse in May of this year? That occurred close to perigee (when the Moon is closest to Earth in its orbit). For that reason we called it a “supermoon”. Many astronomers are therefore calling this eclipsed Moon a “micromoon”!
Good luck tonight! And if you are lucky enough to get a view, snap a pic and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ