Lunar eclipse strawberry full moon – what time is it happening tonight?

There’s chance to look to the skies and see two celestial events tonight.

Who doesn’t love a two-for-one deal – and this time it’s totally free, so we should make the most of it. Fingers crossed for clear skies.

So what is the excitement all about?

It’s because we have a penumbral lunar eclipse coming at the same time as a Strawberry Moon



What is a penumbral lunar eclipse?

Lunar eclipses happen when the Earth is in the middle of the sun and the moon.

So when the moon’s orbit takes it into the dark side of the Earth, it is plunged into shadow and sunlight is blocked from reaching it.

But when the Earth, moon and sun aren’t in a perfectly straight line, the eclipse is not total.

Instead we get either a partial or penumbral lunar eclipse.

In the case of a penumbral total eclipse, only the outer part of the Earth’s shadow – the penumbra – covers part or all of the surface of the moon.

This outer edge of the Earth’s shadow is not totally black so the eclipse is much fainter and can be difficult to see.

What you need to look for is a slightly darker area moving across the surface of the full moon.

A penumbral lunar eclipse only happens when there is a full moon – in this case the Strawberry Moon of June – and when the Earth, sun and moon are not perfectly aligned.

Where is it visible and what time?

According to Timeanddate.com, the penumbral lunar eclipse of June 5-6 will be visible in most of Europe, much of Asia, Australia, Africa and south/east South America.

It will be seen from most of the UK on the evening of June 5, except the northernmost tip of Scotland.

The eclipse actually starts at 6.45pm on June 5 but will be below the horizon in the UK for the first couple of hours so we can’t see it then.



An eclipse taking place with the moon only partly darkened by the Earth's shadow

In Birmingham, we will first be able to see the eclipse happening at 9.14pm.

It will reach its maximum at 9.19pm and it will end at 10.04pm, therefore lasting a total of 50 minutes.

Similar times apply across the rest of the UK, For instance, in London it will begin at 9.01pm and end at 10.04pm, therefore lasting one hour and two minutes.

What’s the weather forecast – will we be able to see all this?

The Met Office forecasts clear skies later tonight on Friday June 5, lasting until around 2am on Saturday June 6.

Fingers crossed the skies clear up early enough for the eclipse to be visible.

But even if we don’t get to see tonight’s eclipse, there’s still chance to see the Strawberry Moon in all its glory.

And there will another penumbral eclipse coming in the early hours of July 5 so there is an opportunity to see something similar in a month’s time.

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