Total eclipse of the Moon, 3-4 March 2007

From the Royal Astronomical Society press list today:

On the evening of 3 March the Moon will move directly behind the Earth in a total lunar eclipse. This is the only eclipse visible from the UK this year.

The Moon will begin to move into the lighter part of the shadow of the Earth (the penumbra) at 2016 GMT and from that time it will take on a yellowish tint. It will enter the darker core of the shadow (the umbra) at 2130 GMT. The total eclipse starts at 2244 GMT when the Moon is completely immersed in the umbra. Totality will end at 2358 GMT, the Moon will move out from the umbra completely at 0111 GMT (on 4 March) and the eclipse will come to an end when the Moon leaves the penumbra at 0225 GMT.

Although fairly common, total lunar eclipses can be spectacular events. Normally the Moon does not disappear completely but is lit by sunlight scattered through the Earth’s atmosphere and takes on a beautiful brick-red hue. At the time of the eclipse, the Moon will be in front of the stars of the constellation of Leo and from the UK it will be high in the southern sky.