Last lunar eclipse of 2020 likely to be spoiled by rain for DC region

2020 is finally winding down to its last month and its last lunar eclipse Sunday night.

Weather is going to spoil this penumbral lunar eclipse of the Full Beaver (or Frost) Moon for those of us in the D.C. region due to a forecasted 100% chance of rain.

We did enjoy a penumbral eclipse of the Full Buck Moon on July 5, 2020, which I was able to photograph as you shall see in the following EarthSky.org article.

For those able to see the eclipse, the Full Beaver Moon will undergo a very slight shading probably undetectable by eye for most observers.

The moon will skim through the outermost pale fringe of Earth’s shadow, with maximum eclipse and greatest amount of shading of the moon, coming at 4:33 a.m. Monday morning.

Try using binoculars or a telescope to view the moon at maximum eclipse.

At maximum eclipse, the moon will be almost entirely in the Earth’s penumbra. Traditionally, a penumbral eclipse is considered invisible unless the moon’s limb reaches about halfway across the penumbra.

For this eclipse it will be 83% immersed in Earth’s penumbra. Telescopic and large zoom-lens photos — processed to reveal very weak contrast changes — might succeed in bringing out evidence of this event if your eyes don’t.

Sadly I should have been writing this article at sea off the coast of South America headed for Antarctica and the follow on Dec. 14 total solar eclipse. I was to be the staff astrophotographer for the voyage, but it was canceled due the coronavirus pandemic.

These two eclipses encompass an eclipse season that always occurs when an eclipse takes place.

Mark your calendars now for two big sky shows in December: The Geminid meteor shower will occur the night of Dec. 13-14 and a week later is the historic grouping of Jupiter and Saturn. I will provide full details on both of these not-to-be-missed events.

Stay safe and healthy.

Follow my daily blog to keep up with the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. You can email me at skyguyinva@gmail.com.

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