And it’s not called the Total Lunar Eclipse for no reason. Although much of the rest of the planet will have partial coverage, we get the whole thing and the best seats in the house are right here in our own backyard.
The last total lunar eclipse visible from this region was in February 2008 and the next one will only be in September 2015!
What is the Total Lunar Eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves into the shadow of the Earth, where the Earth is then preventing the rays of the sun from striking the moon and thus making the moon appear dark. Though lunar eclipses happen at least twice a year, any given eclipse will only be visible from certain parts of the world. Furthermore a lunar eclipse seen from any given location is more likely to be either a partial or penumbral eclipse than a total eclipse. So do make sure you grab the opportunity to have a look this June!
As the eclipse progresses only part of the full moon disk will appear dark (i.e. partial eclipse) initially as the moon start to move into the darkest part of the earth' shadow called the umbra. This will happen at 20:23 SAST (South African Standard Time). Once the moon is inside all of the earth's umbral shadow, one will observe a total eclipse. The total eclipse will last from 21:22 SAST to 23:03 SAST when the moon will eventually start to move out of the earth's shadow and a partial eclipse will then be seen again. The full moon will completely leave the Earth's umbral shadow a few minutes after midnight.
During the total lunar eclipse the moon will most likely have a dark copper red hue to it. This is because much blue light will removed by the earth's atmosphere via scattering off small atmospheric particles, letting mainly the red part of the sunlight through. Unlike for a solar eclipse, no precautions regarding eye safety are needed when observing the moon at this time.