If the weather cooperates, eager residents across Metro Vancouver will be able to watch a prenumbral lunar eclipse over the region’s skies early Wednesday morning.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through Earth’s shadow while also being positioned directly on the opposite side of the sun. A reddish appearance is acquired after certain wavelengths of light in the atmosphere of the planet is refracted out and bounced onto the surface of the moon.
What makes this event a “prenumbral” eclipse is when only the outer shadow of Earth covers the moon. In other words, it is short of totality – not quite a full eclipse.
During Wednesday’s event, the lunar eclipse will reach approximately 80% of totality at its maximum stage.
Schedule of the prenumbral lunar eclipse over Vancouver on Wednesday, March 23 (PST):
- Prenumbral eclipse begins: 2:39 a.m.
- Maximum eclipse reached: 4:47 a.m.
- Prenumbral eclipse ends: 6:54 a.m.
- Sunrise: 7:08 a.m.
- Moonset: 7:21 a.m.
The next lunar eclipse events in B.C. will occur on February 10, 2017 (prenumblar) and January 31, 2018 (total). A near-total solar eclipse will happen in between these events on August 21, 2017.
Diagram: Solar Eclipse (top); Lunar Eclipse (bottom).