The Sky Tonight Update: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Earth’s shadow can be divided into two distinctive parts: the umbra and penumbra. Earth totally occludes direct solar radiation within the umbra, the central region of the shadow. However, since the Sun’s diameter appears about one-quarter of Earth’s in the lunar sky, the planet only partially blocks direct sunlight within the penumbra, the outer portion of the shadow.

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s partial shadow, or penumbra. During this type of eclipse the Moon will darken slightly but not completely. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Indian Ocean, and Australia.

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