Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

August 14, 2002


Provided and copyright by: Geoff Sims
Summary authors & editors: Geoff Sims

On May 26th, 2002, a significant astronomical event took place, but unfortunately it went unnoticed by most people. What was it you may ask? A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse.

A Penumbral Lunar Eclipses occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth's outer (penumbral) shadow. Depending on how deep into the shadow the Moon passes, these types of eclipses can range from being very obvious to not visible at all. On May 26, the Moon passed just deep enough into the shadow for the eclipse to be visible to the naked eye. However, an eclipse like this is much more easily recorded on film. The image on the left was taken just prior to the start of the eclipse; the image on the right was taken during mid-eclipse. Notice the subtle shading on the lower right portion of the Moon, which is the signature of a penumbral eclipse.

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