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Lunar Eclipses : The Next 10 Years
By Greg Bryant

Published in the October 1998 issue of Universe
 
 



Are you wondering when the next lunar eclipse is? Recent years have been less than considerate for lunar eclipses visible from New South Wales. Here's a quick look at the next 10 years and what lunar eclipses you can see from your backyard (Penumbral eclipses are not included, as they are of little interest to the general observer).

July 28, 1999 (Partial)

The evening of Wednesday, July 28, 1999, will provide us with our first decent lunar eclipse since September 1997. On this July evening, about 40% of the Moon will be immersed in Earth's Umbra.

Moon Enters Umbra : 8:22pm
Mid-Eclipse : 9:34pm
Moon Exits Umbra : 10:46pm
Duration Of Partial Phase : 2hr 22min

 

July 16, 2000 (Total)

As if compensating for us missing the Total Lunar Eclipse of January 21, 2000, we get a BIG Total Lunar Eclipse late on the evening of Sunday, July 16, 2000. Let me emphasise the significance of this eclipse: the Moon is fully immersed within Earth's Umbra for 1 hour 48 minutes. According to my research, this is the longest period of totality since the Total Lunar Eclipse of August 14, 1859. By comparison, the Total Lunar Eclipse of September 17, 1997 was 1 hour 2 minutes in length, and the Total Lunar Eclipse of June 4, 1993 was 1 hour 36 minutes in length.

A search of Total Lunar Eclipses visible through to the year 2500 did not reveal one as long as this July eclipse, though there are a few that are perhaps less than 2 minutes shorter.

Moon Enters Umbra: 9:58pm
Moon Enters Totality: 11:02pm
Mid-Eclipse: 11:56pm
Moon Exits Totality: 12:50am
Moon Exits Umbra: 1:54am
Duration Of Partial Phase: 2hr 8min
Duration Of Totality: 1hr 48min 
January 10, 2001 (Total)

This eclipse is mentioned only for "completeness". The Moon enters the Umbra at 4:42am on the Wednesday morning, just before Moonset. Observers in Western Australia will be able to obtain a better view of the Eclipse.

July 5, 2001 (Partial)

This is another late night eclipse. The Partial Lunar Eclipse begins shortly before midnight, and 50% of the Moon will be in the Umbra after midnight.

Moon Enters Umbra: 11:35pm
Mid-Eclipse: 12:55am
Moon Exits Umbra: 2:15am
Duration Of Partial Phase: 2hr 40min
May 5, 2004 (Total)

Having missed the Total Lunar Eclipses of May 16 and November 9, 2003, here is another Total Lunar Eclipse, except that it is interrupted by Moonset, though at least we will be able to observe just on half of the Eclipse.

Moon Enters Umbra : 4:48am
Moon Enters Totality : 5:52am
Mid-Eclipse : 6:30am
Moon Exits Totality : 7:08am
Moon Exits Umbra : 8:12am
Duration Of Partial Phase: 2hr 8min
Duration Of Totality: 1hr 16min
October 17, 2005 (Partial)

Less than 7% of the Moon will enter the Umbra during this evening eclipse.

Moon Enters Umbra: 9:34pm
Mid-Eclipse: 10:03pm
Moon Exits Umbra: 10:32pm
Duration Of Partial Phase: 58min
September 8, 2006 (Partial)

This Partial Lunar Eclipse is only slightly better than the 2005 eclipse, with 19% of the Moon entering the Umbra.

Moon Enters Umbra: 4:05am
Mid-Eclipse: 4:51am
Moon Exits Umbra: 5:37am
Duration Of Partial Phase: 1hr 32min
August 28, 2007 (Total)

While we miss the Total Lunar Eclipse of March 3, 2007, we finally have a Total Lunar Eclipse observable in its entirety during the evening. This is also the first fully observable Total Lunar Eclipse since the July 16 eclipse of 2000.

Moon Enters Umbra: 6:51pm
Moon Enters Totality: 7:52pm
Mid-Eclipse: 8:37pm
Moon Exits Totality: 9:22pm
Moon Exits Umbra: 10:23pm
Duration Of Partial Phase: 2hr 2min
Duration Of Totality: 1hr 30min
August 17, 2008 (Partial)

This is the last Lunar Eclipse that we will look at in this article. Unfortunately, the Eclipse will not be fully seen from New South Wales. Indeed, the Moon will have already set by the time of mid-Eclipse, which is when some 81% of the Moon is immersed in the Umbra

Moon Enters Umbra: 5:36am
Mid-Eclipse: 7:10am
Moon Exits Umbra: 8:44am
Duration Of Partial Phase: 3hr 8min