Bad moon rising

FEW have witnessed a bad moon rising, such as will be seen with the total eclipse at sunset on Tuesday evening.

A total eclipse of the moon is not so special in itself, but what is remarkable this time is that a full moon will rise over the eastern horizon already immersed in the darkness of Earth's shadow.

The perfect celestial arrangement of the sun at one end, Earth in the middle and the moon at the far end allows Earth to cast a long shadow into space. 

The moon's orbit first carries it through Earth's lighter shadow, called the penumbra, before passing into the umbra, or deepest shadow, and remains fully eclipsed for about one hour and 18 minutes.

For observers in the eastern states, moonrise occurs about halfway through this phase. 

The Sydney Observatory says the moon will rise at 5.23pm, already in a total lunar eclipse.

It will stay in the earth's shadow until 6.25pm and then slowly start to move out and lose its copper-red colour. The last of the eclipse will disappear from view at 7.33pm.

Astronomer Melissa Hulbert, of the Sydney Observatory, said the best places to view the eclipse would be spots close to the coast with a clear view to the east.

''Maybe down on a beach or a headland that's got a nice, clear view and that's because the moon will be rising completely immersed in the Earth's shadow,'' she said.

From The Sydney Morning Herald 

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