While you may not relish the prospect of waking up in the small hours most Monday mornings, observers in the British Isles and Western Europe will want to set their alarms no later than 5am GMT on 21 January to see this month’s showstopper celestial event — a total lunar eclipse of an unusually close ‘supermoon’. The total lunar eclipse is also visible in its entirety (weather permitting) from the Americas.
Friday, 27 July sees the second total lunar eclipse of 2018, which also happens to be the longest of the 21st century. Observers in Antarctica, Australasia, Russia, Asia, Africa, Scandanavia, Europe, Central and Eastern South America will see the event. The Moon rises at mid-eclipse as seen from the British Isles, some 6 degrees north of Mars at opposition.
Observers in Western Europe looking at the rising full Moon low in the southeast on the night of Monday, 30 April will also see conspicuous planet Jupiter close by, the pair fitting comfortably within the field of view of typical binoculars. Jupiter is close to opposition (9 May) and we show you how to identify its four main moons.
On 31 January we experience the second full Moon of the month, which by one definition makes it a Blue Moon. However, for observers in north-western North America, Oceania, East Asia or central and eastern Russia, this full Moon will have a decidedly reddish hue since it will be immersed in the Earth’s shadow during a total lunar eclipse.
As darkness descends on 25 December 2015, a rather special Moon can be seen rising in the east, since this is the first full Moon to occur on Christmas Day since 1977. Let us hope that the weather is favourable, for we have rather a long wait until the next — 2034. Season’s greetings from everyone at Astronomy Now!
While you probably don’t relish the prospect of waking up in the small hours of most Monday mornings, you will want to set your alarm for 2am BST on Monday, 28 September for this month’s showstopper celestial event — a rare total lunar eclipse of an unusually large ‘supermoon’ visible in its entirety (weather permitting) from the British Isles!