Yes there is a partial Penumbra Lunar Eclipse Friday, but no you won’t notice.

So for some odd reason, social media is all a buzz about a partial penumbral lunar eclipse Friday evening. It’s a mouth full, so most people just see Eclipse and get excited. Heck, I’m an Astro buff and love this stuff, but even I know a penumbra eclipse is pretty lame. Here’s why?

A good lunar eclipse is when the moon travels into the shadow of the Earth from the Sun. In the partial or full lunar eclipse, the Umbra or the full shadow of the Earth causes a shadow to appear on the moon. This is when the moon almost completely disappears except for a reddish glow. Full and partial lunar eclipses are always really awesome to view.

In Friday’s case, we are talking about the fainter and less impressive secondary shadow of the earth called the Penumbra. This literally just dims the moon slightly and if I didn’t tell you this was happening literally you’d have no idea. It’s that subtle of a change.

So yes this is neat that it’s happening just don’t get too excited that you will see much. I love for people to get excited about science but hate it even more when people have expectations of something great then get disappointed.

The Comet 45p:

You may have also heard about a close encounter with a comet on Friday. Well, this too is a bit of hype. While Comet 45p will be visible with a telescope, you won’t likely see it with the naked eye. The comet lost its tail in December, and as of Feb 7th, it appears to be 3 times dimmer than expected. So again check it out if you have the right equipment, but you won’t likely see it with the naked eye.

 

  • Paul Rybak

    It’s the same when they talk about meteor showers such as the Persieds. They’ll tell you to look at the radiant after midnight and you’ll see up to 70 meteors an hour. Without getting technical, that is really misleading and will be a disappointment for many. I’ve observed that shower for over 50 years, in a dark area, and the max I’ve recorded is 72 in one hour. Most people would be fortunate to see 20-30 as it takes experience.