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Exploring lunar eclipses with astronomer Andrew Yee

Andrew Yee, astronomer
November 20, 2011 — The full moon will experience a total eclipse in the early morning on December 10.

The eclipse will be most visible in western Canada
The eclipse will be most visible in western Canada

Canadian Sky watchers are in for a dazzling display on December 10, 2011. That's because a lunar eclipse will be visible in the early morning sky, west of Ontario.

“An eclipse of the moon occurs when the sun, earth and moon all come into alignment, and the full moon travels through the earth's shadow,” explains astronomer Andrew Yee.

“The shadow of the earth actually has two zones: the outer light shadow zone called the penumbra and the inner deep shadow zone called the umbra ... [on December 10th] the right side of the moon will first enter the umbra to start the partial eclipse. When the right side of the moon enters the umbra, the totality show begins. The moon will be in total eclipse for 51 minutes.”

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is perfectly safe to observe with the naked eye and through optical equipment.

The December 10th eclipse - which will be most visible in the western regions of the country - will occur as the moon is setting. Haze along the horizon and the brightening twilight might make the moon difficult to see prior to reaching the horizon.

This is the second lunar eclipse to occur this year. The first was visible over parts of Europe, Africa, southern Asia and Australia on June 15.

With files from Cheryl Santa Maria

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