WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Viewing tips for the partial penumbral lunar eclipse

Posted November 29, 2020 3:44 p.m. EST

The Moon will pass through the Earth's penumbra the morning of Nov 30, 2020

The Earth will pass between the Sun and Moon early Monday morning creating a partial penumbral eclipse. Penumbral because the Moon will be passing through the lighter penumbral shadow.  Partial because a small part of the Moon will be outside that shadow.

The eclipse begins at 2:32 am and ends as dawn is breaking at 6:53 am. It will be at its greatest around 4:44 am.

Penumbral eclipses like this one aren't as spectacular as those where the Moon passes through the darker umbral shadow. Also overnight clouds will make seen the eclipse difficult. But if you are up and catch a glimpse of the Moon through breaks in the clouds, you may notice a slightly redder color.

That color comes from the way our atmosphere scatters shorter wavelengths of light (like blue) leaving longer wavelengths (like oranges and reds) to pass through and be cast onto the lunar surface.

Every object casts two shadows an umbra and lighter penumbra

Upcoming eclipses

  • May 26, 2021 partial lunar eclipse: eclipse begins about 20 minutes before sunrise
  • Jun 10, 2021 partial solar eclipse: partial, near maximum, eclipse underway at sunrise, ends about 30 minutes later
  • Nov 19, 2021 partial (nearly total) lunar eclipse, peaks around 4 am
  • May 15, 2022 total lunar eclipse, total eclipse begins around 11:30, peaks at 12:11 am, ends at 12:53 am
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