News Column

100-Minute Lunar Eclipse is Rare

June 15, 2011

A 100-minute lunar eclipse Wednesday will be the longest and deepest in more than a decade, visible in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia and Australia.

North Americans can see the moon turn stunning shades of orange and red live on nearly a dozen Web sites.

The event -- when the moon passes behind the Earth, blocking the sun's rays from hitting it -- is to begin at 2:22 p.m. EDT, with 100 minutes of total eclipse lasting from 3:22 p.m. to 5:02 p.m.

"The path that the moon is taking through Earth's shadow is almost directly through [the shadow's] center, making for the longest possible path and so the longest duration," Ben Burress, staff astronomer at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, Calif., told National Geographic.

"The last eclipse that was as long as this one was in 2000, while the next won't be until 2018, so this makes it a somewhat rare event," he said.

Web sites offering live streaming video of the eclipse include Germany's astronation.net, Israel's bareket-astro.com, India's ustream.tv/channel/live-eclipse-streaming, Spain's serviastro.am.ub.es, and South Africa, Dubai and Cyprus images from the Slooh robotic telescope at eclipse.slooh.com.

The next lunar eclipse visible in North America will be Dec. 10. It will rise over Eastern Europe and set over northwest North America. It will also be visible from all of Asia and Australia.

Its total phase will last 51 minutes.



Source: Copyright United Press International 2011


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