With the mild Arizona weather this week, you’ll have a chance to view a penumbral lunar eclipse on Friday evening.
A penumbral eclipse of the moon occurs when the moon passes into and out of the outer shadow of the Earth.
The full moon for February is known as the full snow moon. The moon will rise for us in a hopeful clear sky, at 6:08 p.m. in the constellation of Leo the lion.
This eclipse will darken the upper edge of the moon, giving it a strange glow. The eclipse is at maximum at 5:43 p.m. local time, before the moon has risen.
At moon rise, observers may still have a great opportunity to see this phenomenon and maybe capture it with your camera!
The penumbral eclipse is different than the type of eclipse you’re probably thinking of.
In astronomy, objects in the solar system exhibit two types of shadows: The first one is known as the umbra. This is the darkest and deepest shadow that an object casts into space.
The second type of shadow is known as the penumbra.
A penumbra’s width — as seen from the object casting it — is equal to the width of the light source. Or, simply put, the penumbra is the outer shadow of the object creating the shadow.
In Friday’s eclipse, the shadow caster is the Earth and the moon will move into this secondary shadow.
If you miss this, don’t worry. We have the main event — a total solar eclipse — taking place in many portions of the United States, on Aug. 21.
Get your very own Dr. Sky February star chart.