2018: Solar and Lunar Phenomena Overview

Sun setting while partially eclipsed on May 20, 2012 during an Annular Solar Eclipse. Taken through Tele Vue-TV-76 with Canon 50D camera. Credit & copyright Edward Nash.
Solar Eclipses
First, some bad-news for all those newly confirmed “eclipse chasers” from the Great American Eclipse in 2017: there will be no total  solar or annular eclipses this year — just some partials.
Southern hemisphere observers will get a double-dose of partial eclipses starting February 15th. That event will cover an area from the southern part of South America to a large chunk of Antarctica. This will be followed by another partial event July 13th — mostly observable in the  waters between Antarctica and Australia — with the shadow making landfall in the southern parts of Victoria and South Australia.

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Partial Lunar Eclipse – August 7, 2017

Xavier Dequevy’s Total Lunar Eclipse composite image of March 03, 2007 made with the TV-NP101is. Note that the Aug. 7, 2017 eclipse will be partial.

Some phase of this lunar eclipse is visible from the eastern tip of South America to Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.  All phases are visible in the region encompassing east Africa, Central Asia, and most of Australia. This means most of the Americas will not see this event. (Don’t fret! Our consolation prize will be the total solar eclipse in just two weeks after!) The eclipse is “partial” because the moon just clips the deepest part of the Earth’s shadows — the “umbra”.

Eclipse map courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, from eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov.

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Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – Feb. 11, 2017

Some phase of this lunar eclipse is visible from most of the planet. All phases are visible in the region from the eastern parts of North and South America to Europe, Africa, and western Asia. The eclipse is “penumbral” because the moon misses the deepest part of the Earth’s shadows — the “umbra”. This also means it’s easy to miss the initial and later stages as the darkening is not as dramatic and it will lack the color-cast of an eclipse that includes passage through the umbra.

Eclipse map courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, from eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov.

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