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Total lunar eclipse on 28 October 2004

Total lunar eclipse 2000
On 28 October British astronomers will be able to see the second total eclipse of the Moon of 2004.

 

Mid-totality during the lunar eclipse of
21 January 2000
Image: Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC

The Moon will enter the lighter, penumbral shadow of the Earth at 01.05 on 28 October. Soon after keen-sighted observers may notice a distinctly red colour. At 02.14 the Moon will enter the darker, umbral shadow.

The shadow of the Earth will then appear to steadily move across the Moon until it is totally eclipsed by 03.23. Totality lasts until 04.44 and the Moon emerges from the dark umbra at 05.53. The eclipse finally ends when the Moon leaves the penumbra at 07.03.

All times are BST.


Moving through the Earth's shadow

The path of the Moon through Earth's umbral and penumbral shadows during the total lunar eclipse on 28 October 2004. Times are given in BST (GMT+1)
The path of the Moon through Earth's umbral and penumbral shadows during the total lunar eclipse on 28 October 2004. Times are given in BST (GMT+1).Courtesy of F. Espenak, NASA/GSFC. Visit the NASA/GSFC eclipse homepage


What to expect

Lunar eclipse January 2000
A montage sequence of images of the total eclipse of 20 January 2000.The Moon moved across the Earth's shadow from right to left.(click on the image to enlarge)Image: Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC

During the total eclipse the Moon will darken considerably but will still be one of the brightest objects in the sky. It will probably take on a beautiful brick-red hue as a result of light from the Sun being refracted onto the lunar surface by the Earth's atmosphere. This colour can change considerably after a volcanic eruption – in that case large amounts of dust in the atmosphere can make the Moon appear much darker.

This time totality lasts 1 hour and 21 minutes. The north of the Moon is nearest to the edge of the Earth's shadow and will appear brighter than the southern limb.

More information on eclipses can be found on Fred Espenak's NASA/GSFC eclipse homepage.


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