Make sure you step outside this evening when the sun is setting and try to get a glimpse of the partial lunar eclipse. If the weather permits, Americans can see the penumbral lunar eclipse just as the moon is rising, and optimal viewing time for much of the U.S. will be at 7:50 E.T. For those who either can’t get outside or can’t see the lunar eclipse because of location or poor weather, a livestream of the eclipse will be shown online at Space.com.
AccuWeather has put together a nice graphic for eclipse viewing conditions on Friday evening. People in the Northeast have a good chance to see the penumbral lunar eclipse, but viewing conditions for people outside the East Coast and South are poorer.
A penumbral lunar eclipse is different from a total eclipse, as only a portion of the Earth’s shadow keeps the sunlight from reaching the moon. Partial eclipses happen just a few times per year, and since the optimal viewing window is limited based on location and weather conditions, it can be hard for a lot of people to see them.
When you step outside tonight, don’t be alarmed if you don’t notice the partial eclipse at first. Because of the nature of a penumbral lunar eclipse, they are harder to see. Combine this with trying to see the lunar eclipse as the sun is setting, seeing the eclipse will be more difficult. If you have access to a camera with a good zoom lens, binoculars or a telescope, try to have those on hand when attempting to view the lunar eclipse.
According to Space.com’s Miriam Kramer, the shading of the lunar eclipse will be “subtle.” Kramer also says, “The moon will be partially in shadow for about four hours with the time of deepest eclipse occurring at 7:50 p.m. EDT (2350 GMT). At that moment, the Earth’s outer shadow will cover 76.5 percent of the lunar disk.”
— Astronomy Now (@AstronomyNow) October 18, 2013
Check out the lunar eclipse schedule for the world on Friday below: