What is a penumbral lunar eclipse and is it safe to look directly at it? – The Sun

TONIGHT stargazers will be able to spot the June 2020 penumbral lunar eclipse around dusk.

But what exactly is a penumbral lunar eclipse and is it safe to look at?

What is a penumbral lunar eclipse?

In a penumbral lunar eclipse only the outer shadow of the Earth, which is called the penumbra, falls on the earth's face.

It's not the most obvious eclipse as it's quite hard to spot, unlike a total eclipse which can turn the entire moon red.

The most people will see is a dark shadowing on the moon's face, but you have to be actively looking for it.

For tonight, we will need the skies to be clear to be able to see the eclipse.

It's best to view where there is less light pollution.

Is it OK to look directly at?

A lunar eclipse is fine to look at but solar eclipses are only safe to look at when the sun is completely obscured by the moon.

Staring at it before then, even briefly, can cause irreparable eye damage, according to scientist Bill Nye.

He said: "The danger is simply that an eclipse is so fascinating, that we are tempted to stare right at the Sun for minutes at a time, much longer than we would even consider on any other day."

What's the difference between a lunar and a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens when the moon gets in the way of the sun's light and casts its shadow on Earth.

This kind of eclipse happens around every year and a half somewhere on Earth but not everyone experiences every solar eclipse.

The moon’s shadow on Earth is not very big, so only a small portion of places on Earth will see it.
The same spot on Earth only gets to see a solar eclipse for a few minutes about every 375 years, according to Nasa.


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