Two weeks after the solar eclipse, there is a chance to see a very large partial eclipse of the Moon from the UK and Europe on the evening of Saturday 16 August.
The Moon rises over Britain with the eclipse already underway. First contact with the pale outer shadow, the penumbra, takes place at 18:25 UT (7.25 pm BST) when the Moon is still below the horizon for UK observers.
When the Moon finally does rise above the southeastern horizon at around 19:30 UT (8.30 pm BST), it is almost wholly immersed in the penumbra. Minutes after moonrise from much of the UK, it begins to enter the main dark shadow, called the umbra.
First contact with the umbra occurs at 19:36 UT (8.36 pm BST). By 21:10 UT (10.10 pm BST) the Moon is immersed at its maximum depth in the umbra, leaving a sliver of the northern limb shining in the penumbral light, while more than 80 per cent of the lunar disk has assumed a deep red hue. The Moon is then around 13° above the southern horizon for observers in southern England, in the southern constellation of Capriconus. The Moon finally leaves the umbra at 22:44 UT (11.44 pm BST) and exits the penumbra at 23:55 UT (12.55 am BST).
The Earth’s shadow is actually composed of two cones, one darker one within the other. To understand the geometry of this, and the difference between the umbra and penumbra, visit this webpage.
This will be the deepest lunar eclipse visible from the UK until 15 June 2011.
A webcast of the eclipse will be broadcast by noted astronomy author Peter Grego live from St Dennis, Cornwall, between 19:30 UT (8.30 pm BST) and 22:45 UT (11.45 pm BST) at www.lunarobservers.com.
You can observe for yourself with the unaided eye but steadily-held binoculars will help you to follow the shadow’s progress across the Moon’s face.
• Skymania welcomes your comments on our stories! For more space reading, check out the Skymania stores in the USA, the UK, Canada and France. They are powered by Amazon so you can buy with confidence.