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article imagePartial lunar eclipse set for Monday, ahead of rare Venus transit

By Andrew Moran     Jun 1, 2012 in Science
Toronto - June will prove to be yet another month of spectacular stargazing events. On Jun. 4, millions of people will be able to witness a partial lunar eclipse, which is just a few short weeks after the recent solar eclipse.
A lunar eclipse takes place when the moon passes behind the Earth so our planet blocks the sun’s rays from hitting the moon. This only happens when the sun, moon and Earth are fully aligned. On Monday, get ready for this to occur as you will get to experience a partial lunar eclipse of a full moon.
The moon will be one-third covered by the Earth’s umbral shadow at the eclipse’s peak. If we have terrific weather, it will provide astronomers and stargazers alike an amazing celestial show Monday morning.
This partial lunar eclipse will transpire one day before the once-in-a-lifetime transit of Venus, which will appear before the naked eye. The transit will occur for six hours and will not happen until the year 2116.
For viewing purposes, here are the important times for the lunar eclipse:
- Penumbral eclipse begins: 08:48 UTC
- Partial eclipse begins: 10:00 UTC
- Greatest eclipse: 11:03 UTC
- Partial eclipse ends: 12:06 UTC
- Penumbral eclipse ends: 13:18 UTC
According to a map from Space.com, much of North and South America, East Asia and Australia will get to see the eclipse at either the moon set or moon rise. Unfortunately, if you’re in Africa or Europe, the eclipse will not be visible at all.
If you’re wondering why we are being graced with a lunar eclipse just a short couple of weeks following a solar eclipse, it’s because the two always come together so a solar eclipse is always accompanied by a lunar eclipse over the span of two weeks.
Over the course of the half-month, the moon travels halfway around its orbit and forms a straight line with the Earth and sun.
The last total lunar eclipse took place in December 2011 and the next one will not happen until April 2014.
More about Lunar eclipse, venus transit, Full moon, earth shadow
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