With the moon at its full phase about to transit north of the constellation of Cancer on January 12, offering us the opportunity to admire it near the Crib cluster, we will witness the first partial penumbral eclipse of Moon of the year on the evening of January 10, 2020.
Our natural satellite will be found on the evening of January 10, 2020 to transit in the penumbra zone of the Earth. We can then find it in the constellation of Gemini. Looking eastwards, we will be able to admire our full moon in a slightly different appearance than usual.
We will see its apparent magnitude decrease slightly; we will therefore see a Moon a little more “blurred” than usual.
While a true shadow lunar eclipse occurs when the shadow of the Earth partially or totally darkens the lunar surface, the penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when only the penumbra of the Earth obscures the Moon, that is, a wider area, which therefore includes the shadow cone of the Earth. The full Moon is also in this case aligned with the Earth and the Sun. Even for penumbral eclipses as for shadows, there is a magnitude relative to the event.
While the last penumbral (total) eclipse occurred in February 2009, this year there will be three more penumbral eclipses, all partial, in the months of June, July and November 2020. The next total penumbral eclipse will instead be February 20, 2027.
The partial penumbral eclipse of Moon will be visible from all over Italy. At 20.10 TC there will be the maximum phase of the event. The Moon will then be covered for about 90% of its surface by the twilight of the Earth. There will be a decrease in the brightness of the satellite, but less perceptible than in cases of shadow eclipses. It will also not be uniform. The darkened area will be more intense near the shadow cone of the Earth. The eclipse will begin at 18.07 and will last about four hours, ending at around 22. The luckiest ones will surely be able to grasp and enjoy the eclipse at its best with images and photographic shots. One more opportunity to admire our beautiful natural satellite up close, trying to grasp the different nuances.