Whether you live in Spain or anywhere else in South America, Africa, parts of Asia, Oceania and Europe, today, July 16, at 6:44 p.m. UTC universal time, you can witness a partial eclipse of Luna. In North America it will not be seen because the eclipse will take place during daylight hours when the moon is below the horizon.
The eclipse coincidentally coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first trip of the human being to the Moon.
The Moon will pass from right to left through the shadow of the southern part of the Earth, which cover up to 65% of its diameter. It will enter at 18:43 hours in the less dark part of the Earth's shadow, called penumbra, and at 20:01 hours in the darkest (umbra). The midpoint of the eclipse will occur at 9:30 pm and will be there when 65% of the moon's diameter is covered by the shadow and will adopt a reddish brown color.
This reddish color will be difficult to see with the naked eye, so it is recommended to use binoculars or a small telescope. Also important to look for a place with a clear horizon to the southeast and with the least possible light pollution.
In Spain, the eclipse will begin this Tuesday around 22.00 and will end at 1.00 in the morning. The maximum of the eclipse will happen at 23h31m (peninsular time), when the area dyed red will cover 65% of the lunar diameter. The least favorable conditions for observing the eclipse will occur in the most western areas, such as Galicia.
Until 2022, there will be no other lunar eclipse as interesting as this one. On May 16 of that year a total lunar eclipse will take place.
The most interesting thing about this lunar eclise, in addition, is that coincides with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the beginning of man's journey to the Moon in Apollo11, on July 16, 1969. In the United States, the launch of the Saturn V rocket will be held tomorrow with various activities, with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michzael Collins aboard the ship he was carrying. The center of the commemorations is the Kennedy Space Center will be Aldrin, 89, and Collins, 88. Neil Armstrong, the first man who stepped on the moon, died in 2012.
What is a lunar eclipse?
The lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth interposes between the Sun and the Moon, darkening our satellite temporarily. To appreciate that the edge of this shadow is an arc of circumference already allowed the ancient Greeks to identify the roundness of the Earth. The Sun has an equatorial diameter 109 times larger than the Earth, so it casts a cone of convergent shadow and a cone of divergent penumbra. Eclipses occur because the Moon, which is about 384,000 km from Earth, enters the cone of Earth's shadow, much larger: the shadow cone has a diameter of 9200 km, while the diameter of the Moon is 3476 km.
Lunar eclipses are classified as partial (only part of the Moon is hidden), total (the entire lunar surface enters the cone of Earth's shadow) and penumbral (the Moon enters the cone of Earth's penumbra).
Deprived of the sun's rays, the moon darkens and acquires an orange hue, because the Earth's atmosphere deflects the red rays of sunlight into the cone of its shadow.
About 15 days before or after each lunar eclipse there is always a solar eclipse. That is, eclipses normally happen in pairs. The lunar eclipse of July 16 was accompanied by the total solar eclipse that took place on July 2.