What is a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse?

Not only is it the start of a new month and a new decade but some exciting astronomical events are set to take place this year with the first of these being the Penumbral Lunar Eclipse!

Over the next few nights, 9th and 10th January, the full moon will light up the nights sky from dusk until dawn. Now not only is it the first full moon of the year, also known as a Wolf Moon, but we'll see a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse.

What is a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse?

A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse takes place when the Sun, the Earth and the Moon roughly line up. The Earth casts a partial shadow on the Moon making it appear subtly dimmer than normal.

A Penumbra is a partial shadow between regions of full shadow (known as the Umbra) and full illumination

In a Lunar Eclipse, the moon travels through the Earth's Umbra (complete shadow) making it disappear.

When can I see it?

Friday 10th January 2020, look to the Eastern sky around 7pm

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Credit: ITV Anglia

This month’s full moon, (the first of 13 full moons in 2020, falls on January 10 at 7:21pm. As we'll have 13 full moons this year, October will be the only month to see two full moons. In modern sky lore, the second full moon of a month commonly called a Blue Moon.