How to see July’s partial eclipse of the Moon

A partial eclipse of the Moon will occur on the night of July 16, 2019. The Full Moon will pass through the southern part of the Earth’s shadow in space, and more than half of it will become immersed in the dark, central umbra. 

This image shows a partial stage of a total eclipse that will resemble the maximum partial phase on the eclipse on July16, 2019. Image credit: Paul Sutherland

The rest of the Moon will still shine quite brightly, though the expert eye will be able to note that it has been dimmed and so shines with less glare than the Full Moon usually does. This is because it will be in the outer penumbra.

If you happened to be able to stand in part of the Moon immersed in the umbra, you should see the Sun totally covered by the Earth. If you stood on the Moon in the penumbra, you would see the Sun partially eclipsed by the Earth.

Unfortunately for North Americans, the eclipse will be over before the Moon rises there. But most of the rest of the world can see at least part of it providing the sky is clear.

The entire eclipse will be visible from all but north-western Africa, Eastern Europe, and Western Asia. People living in Western Europe, including the UK and Ireland, and South America will see the Moon rise during the eclipse.

Eastern Asia, including Indonesia, China, Japan, plus Australia, will experience some of the eclipse before the Moon sets.

Partial eclipses of the Moon are not as dramatic as total eclipses. During a total lunar eclipse, the whole Moon is darkened and this allows observers to see the reddish, often coppery colour of Earth’s shadow on the Moon.

At the same time, the sky darkens considerably, so that it resembles that usually seen on a moonless night rather than the washed-out sky during a normal Full Moon.

During the partial eclipse, the brightness of the parts of the Moon left in the penumbra mean that the sky will not darken noticeably, and the subtle colours in the rest of the Moon will probably be less clear.

However, the eclipse is still a relatively rare event and so will be worth watching to see the magic of another world passing through our planet’s shadow.

Here are timings for key moments during the eclipse. They are given in Universal Time (UT), as the time according to your own local time will vary according to where you are in the world. Look online to find the difference between UT and your own time zone.

P1, when the Moon first enters the outer shadow, or penumbra, occurs just before 18.44 UT. The Moon begins to enter the umbra (U1) just before 20.02 UT. U4, when the Moon exits the central umbra, occurs seconds before 23.00 UT, and P4, when it leaves the penumbra happens at almost 00.18 UT. There are no stages U2 and U3 because they only happen at a total lunar eclipse.

Related: What is an eclipse of the Moon?

Related: What can I see in the sky this month?

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