What happens astronomically on the lunar eclipse?
A lunar eclipse happens at a full Moon. The Earth is between the Sun and Moon, casting a shadow on the Moon's surface. This is only visible to us if the exact time of the full Moon occurs during the night in our time zone. The culmination of tension and agitation at this time is very powerful.
There are three kinds of lunar eclipses: total, partial and penumbral.
During a total lunar eclipse, the inner part of Earth’s shadow, called the umbra, falls on the Moon’s face. At mid-eclipse, the entire Moon is in shadow, which may appear blood red.
During a partial lunar eclipse the Earth moves between the Sun and Moon but they do not form a perfectly straight line. A small part of the Moon's surface is covered by the darkest, central part of the Earth's shadow - the umbra.
7th August 2017
There's a partial lunar eclipse but not much will be seen from the UK as the Moon rises after the peak. The eclipse begins at 18:21 (BST) then reaches greatest eclipse at *19:20 ending at 21:51. In the UK the Moon will rise at about 20:30 (depending on location) so there may be a little to see - but not much!
*Note - the time of Full Moon is different to the time of the eclipse by 10 minutes.
During a penumbral lunar eclipse, the diffuse outer shadow of Earth falls on the Moon’s face. This kind of lunar eclipse is very subtle, and much more difficult to observe, than the total or partial eclipse. The least spectacular eclipse to view. At best, at the peak of the eclipse, you will notice a dark shading on the Moon’s face.