Total Lunar Eclipse on October 27

October 3, 2004
Total Lunar Eclipse

The last eclipse of 2004 occurs on the evening of Wednesday, October 27 (in Europe, the eclipse occurs during the early morning hours of Thursday, October 28). This event is a total eclipse of the Moon which will be visible from North and South America as well as Europe, Africa and Antarctica. During such an eclipse, the Moon's disk can take on a dramatically colorful appearance from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and (rarely) very dark gray.

October's lunar eclipse is well-placed for North and South America as well as western Europe and Africa. From the United States, the eastern two-thirds of the country will see the entire eclipse (weather permitting). In the western third of the USA, the faint penumbral phase begins before moonrise but this is the least interesting and dramatic part of the eclipse. The more important and photogenic partial and total phases will be visible from all of North America with the exception of Alaska. From the Alaskan panhandle, the partial phases begin at moonrise, but further west the Moon will rise during totality.

Canada also witnesses the entire eclipse as does Central and South America. From western Europe, the eclipse occurs during the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 28. The Moon sets during totality from East Africa, the Middle East and central Asia. India and western China will only see the early penumbral stages before the Moon sets. Further east, none of the eclipse is visible from Japan, eastern China, southeast Asia, Indonesia, Australia or New Zealand.

The last eclipse of the year is another total lunar eclipse. This time, the event will be well placed for North Americans. The eclipse occurs at the ascending node of Luna's orbit in southern Aries. Since the Moon is 5.6 days shy of apogee, it will appear 7% smaller (= 30.6 arc-minutes) than it was during May's eclipse. The Moon's trajectory takes it deep into the northern umbral shadow resulting in a total eclipse which lasts 1 hour 21 minutes. At mid-totality, the Moon's southern limb is a mere 0.7 arc-minutes from the umbra's centre.

In contrast, the northern limb is 9.5 arc-minutes from the umbra's edge and 31.3 arc-minutes from its centre. Since different parts of the Moon will probe radically different portions of Earth's umbral shadow, a large variation in shadow brightness can be expected. The totally eclipsed Moon will appear to have a bright rim along its northern edge. Observers are encouraged to estimate the Danjon value at mid-totality.

The penumbral phase of October's eclipse begins at 00:06 UT, but most observers will not be able to visually detect the shadow until about 00:45 UT. A timetable for the major phases of the eclipse is as follows:

Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 00:05:35 UT
Partial Eclipse Begins: 01:14:25 UT
Total Eclipse Begins: 02:23:28 UT
Greatest Eclipse: 03:04:06 UT
Total Eclipse Ends: 03:44:43 UT
Partial Eclipse Ends: 04:53:44 UT
Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 06:02:44 UT

At the instant of mid-totality (03:04 UT), the Moon will stand near the zenith for observers in the southern Caribbean. At that time, the umbral eclipse magnitude will be 1.313. Most of North America will be treated to the entire eclipse. However, the penumbral phases will already be in progress at moonrise for observers in the western States and Canada. Eastern Alaska will catch totality just after moonrise, but observers in the southwestern corner of the state will see the Moon rise already in total eclipse.

Various stages of the eclipse are in progress at moonset for observers throughout much of Asia and Africa. However, eastern and southeast Asia as well as Australia will miss the entire event because it begins after moonset.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Blues for the second full moon of July

Related Stories

Blues for the second full moon of July

July 28, 2015

Brace yourselves for blue moon madness. The month of July 2015 hosts two full moons: One on July 2nd and another coming right up this week on Friday, July 31st at 10:43 Universal Time (UT)/6:43 AM EDT.

Catching Earth at aphelion

July 7, 2015

Do you feel a little… distant today? The day after the 4th of July weekend brings with it the promise of barbecue leftovers and discount fireworks. It also sees our fair planet at aphelion, or its farthest point from the ...

A solar eclipse sheds light on physics

May 26, 2015

On 29 May 1919, a shadow dance took place over the Caribbean which was to make history: While the new moon covered the blazingly bright disk of the Sun, astronomers around Arthur Stanley Eddington measured the shift of stars ...

Brief moon eclipse coming April 4

April 1, 2015

A brief total eclipse of the Moon may be visible on April 4 to skywatchers in western North America, Australia and East Asia, astronomers say.

Total lunar eclipse before dawn on April 4th

March 31, 2015

An unusually brief total eclipse of the Moon will be visible before dawn this Saturday, April 4th, from western North America. The eclipse happens on Saturday evening for Australia and East Asia.

Recommended for you

How bees naturally vaccinate their babies

July 31, 2015

When it comes to vaccinating their babies, bees don't have a choice—they naturally immunize their offspring against specific diseases found in their environments. And now for the first time, scientists have discovered how ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

Exoplanets 20/20: Looking back to the future

July 31, 2015

Geoff Marcy remembers the hair standing up on the back of his neck. Paul Butler remembers being dead tired. The two men had just made history: the first confirmation of a planet orbiting another star.

Earth flyby of 'space peanut' captured in new video

July 31, 2015

NASA scientists have used two giant, Earth-based radio telescopes to bounce radar signals off a passing asteroid and produce images of the peanut-shaped body as it approached close to Earth this past weekend.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.