Sky Events

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

If you are in the zone to see the maximum phase, that should occur at 0:44 UT (6:44 p.m. US Central Time). At this time the lunar limb adjacent to the umbra should show obvious darkening.

This is a great naked-eye event to point out to your friends and neighbors. You can create a close-up, time-lapse video of this event by using just your smartphone and a FoneMate™ attached to a short focal-length refractor or similar scope.