Latest in space exploration by Sky Headlines logo
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Next Penumbral Lunar Eclipse: When and Where to See It?

It is now the moon’s turn to experience an eclipse, a little over two weeks after its shadowy figure crossed in front of the sun over portions of the Pacific Ocean, New Guinea, and the Indian Ocean. On May 5, the moon almost totally disappears beneath the Earth’s shadow, leaving only the penumbra, the shadow’s outermost region. The penumbra is not only light in color, but it also gets lighter as it moves farther from the umbra, the shadow’s black center region. Consequently, this occurrence is known as a penumbral lunar eclipse.

When will the penumbral lunar eclipse start?

On Friday, May 5, the penumbral lunar eclipse will start at 11:13 a.m. EDT (15:13 GMT) and peak at 1:24 p.m. EDT (17:24 GMT). When the moon comes out from the Earth’s shade at 3:31 p.m. EDT (1932 GMT), the eclipse will be over.

No portion of the moon crosses into the Earth’s deep umbral shadow during a penumbral lunar eclipse, leaving no visible trace of the Earth’s shadow. This brief eclipse won’t have much of an impact on the moon’s brightness because it will pass through the farthest reaches of the Earth’s shadow. Unless at least two-thirds of the moon’s disk are completely submerged within it, the penumbral shadow is typically faint and challenging to see. Even though the area of the moon closest to the much darker umbral shadow may darken rationally, it might not draw attention.

Next Penumbral Lunar Eclipse img 2
A map showing the worldwide visibility of the lunar eclipse on May 5, 2023. (Image credit: Dominic Ford/

The Earth would appear to partially shade the sun to an astronaut standing on the moon. 

Which region won’t be able to view the eclipse?

The Eastern Hemisphere benefits from this eclipse, especially a portion of eastern Africa and neighboring Madagascar as well as most of western Asia. The moon will be below the horizon during the daytime when this event takes place, thus the Americas won’t see any of it. The moon’s course will be to the north of the deep umbral shadow.

What are the key features of the upcoming penumbral eclipse?

The moon will begin to enter the penumbral shadow at the time shown in the timeline below, which has been adjusted to reflect Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), however, nothing exceptional will be visible on the lunar disk at that time. 

The penumbral lunar eclipse magnitude, or the portion of the moon’s diameter that is under the lighter penumbral shadow, will be 96.4 percent at the time of the eclipse’s darkest phase. 

Moon’s proximity to Earth’s shadow during the eclipse:

When the moon is in the southern part of the penumbra, there will be just around 78 miles (126 km) between its highest edge and Earth’s umbra.  Therefore, those who know to look may be able to see a vague grayish or brownish smudge or stain concentrated toward the moon’s upper rim for about 45 minutes, or so, around the time of the middle of the eclipse. 

Which areas will be able to see the eclipse?

Eastern Asia, Indonesia, Australia, and southern New Zealand will also be able to see the eclipse, but because it happens after local midnight there, Saturday (May 6) will appear on the calendar. The moon will set in New Zealand and parts of Japan while still completely engulfed by the penumbral shadow. 

Those who won’t be able to view the eclipse:

The rest of the world won’t be able to see the eclipse because it will happen during the day and the moon will be below the horizon. Try not to worry too much if that relates to you. After all, this event pales in comparison to more spectacular celestial displays like the recent uncommon hybrid solar eclipse that occurred on April 20.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *