Lunar eclipse coming Sunday night, though it could be hard to see



The celestial bodies line up for a show this weekend, although clouds over Portland could prevent her from seeing.

A penumbra lunar eclipse will take place on Sunday evening, Monday morning, from November 29 to 30, according to NASA, gradually darkening the face of the moon for more than four hours. This will be the second lunar eclipse visible in Oregon this year, after a previous penumbra eclipse in July.

A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth’s shadow falls on the moon, and this can only happen on a full moon when the sun, earth, and moon all align. A penumbra eclipse is much more subtle than a full or even partial eclipse because only the lighter outer shadow of the Earth (called penumbra) darkens the moon.

During a penumbra lunar eclipse, the moon gradually becomes a little darker until the maximum eclipse, after which it gradually brightens. Unlike a full or partial eclipse, the face of the moon does not darken completely and some people may not notice a difference.

The eclipse is expected to start at 11:32 p.m. on Sunday, reaching the maximum eclipse at 1:42 a.m. on Saturday and ending at 3:53 a.m., according to timeanddate.com.

Whether or not you can see it in the Portland area will depend on the cloud cover. While the skies are expected to be clear on Sunday during the day, clouds are expected to fall overnight, the National Weather Service said.

Two more lunar eclipses will be visible in the Pacific Northwest over the next year. A total lunar eclipse is expected to occur on May 26, 2021, in the wee hours of the morning, and a partial lunar eclipse from November 18 to 19, 2021 will be visible across the Americas.

A solar eclipse always occurs about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse, said Jim Todd, director of space science education at OMSI, but this time most of the world will miss: the next total solar eclipse will have place on December 14 visible only from Chile and parts of Argentina. Parts of South America, southwestern Africa and Antarctica may see a partial solar eclipse.

The Pacific Northwest will not see another solar eclipse until the annular solar eclipse of October 14, 2023 and the total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024.

–Jamie Hale; [email protected]; 503-294-4077; @HaleJamesB




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