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Lunar Eclipse November 8-9, 2003.

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Lunar Eclipse.
Lunar Eclipse November 8-9: Image credit: ESA.

Just in case you'd forgotten, here's another reminder of Saturday's total lunar eclipse, visible from most of the Americas, Europe and Africa. The visible eclipse begins at 2332 GMT (6:32 pm EST) and the maximum happens at 0119 GMT Sunday (8:19 pm EST Saturday). The Moon is just going to skim inside the Earth's shadow, so it won't be a long eclipse, but you should still be able to see it turn dark and then a coppery red colour before exiting the shadow again. If you can't see the eclipse where you live, return to universe Today - we'll be showcasing various astrocameras around the world broadcasting the eclipse live.

On Saturday night, 8 November 2003, the full moon will pass through the Earth's shadow, producing a total lunar eclipse for skywatchers throughout North America, Europe and Africa.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon form a near-straight line in space, so that the full moon passes through Earth’s shadow. Unlike a solar eclipse, which requires special equipment to observe safely, you can watch a lunar eclipse with unaided eyes.

The most impressive part starts when the Moon's leading edge first enters the main shadow, or umbra, and the partial eclipse begins. Over the next hour or so, the Moon will slip into darkness. The total eclipse begins when the Moon is fully inside the umbra, but it won't be completely blacked out.

The totally eclipsed Moon should still be visible as a dark gray or brown-red disk in the sky, and this colour is caused by sunlight scattered in our atmosphere. Its brightness depends on the amount of dust in the Earth's upper atmosphere at the time, which influences how much sunlight filters through.

The 'totality’ phase of this November’s eclipse will be unusually brief, lasting only 25 minutes because the Moon only just skims inside the southern edge of Earth’s shadow.

The eclipse will be seen in its entirety by all of Europe and most of Africa late on Saturday night. In North America, observers will see it earlier in the evening, and those living in eastern and southern Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia may see the eclipsed Moon set around the time of sunrise on Sunday morning.

Timetable for eclipse, 8/9 November 2003

22:15 Moon enters penumbra

23:32 Partial eclipse starts

01:06 Total eclipse starts

01:31 Total eclipse ends

03:04 Partial eclipse ends

04:22 Moon leaves penumbra

Time is UT, universal time (Greenwich Mean Time)

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