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  • Penumbral lunar eclipse in Hong Kong on March 23

  • Friday, 18th March 2016

After the partial solar eclipse on March 9, a penumbral lunar eclipse will occur in Hong Kong on the evening of March 23 (Wednesday). The event will be visible if weather permits. Details of the eclipse are as follows :

Hong Kong Time Direction (Azimuth) Elevation

Moon enters penumbra

5:37 pm - Below horizon

Moonrise

6:29 pm East (90 degrees) -1 degree

Maximum eclipse

7:47 pm East (98 degrees) 17 degree

Moon leaves penumbra

9:57 pm East-southeast (116 degrees) 45 degree

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon only passes through the penumbra (partial shadow) of the Earth without entering the umbra (total shadow). During the event, the moon will become only slightly dimmer. Similar to the eclipse on April 4 last year, a special feature of the coming lunar eclipse is that the eclipse will already be in progress before moonrise. The whole process (from moonrise to moon leaving penumbra) will last for 3 hours 28 minutes. As the elevation of the moon will be rather low during the eclipse, the event will be best observed at places with an unobstructed view of the horizon to the east and southeast. Please refer to the attached diagram for an illustration of the path of the moon during the eclipse.

A solar eclipse followed by a lunar eclipse within half a month is not uncommon. The previous case occurred in 2012 when an annular solar eclipse and a partial lunar eclipse occurred in Hong Kong on May 21 and June 4 respectively. The next case will be a partial solar eclipse on December 26, 2019, followed closely by a penumbral lunar eclipse on January 11, 2020. Meanwhile, the next lunar eclipse observable in Hong Kong will occur on September 17 this year, which will also be a penumbral lunar eclipse.

For the latest forecast on the weather conditions for March 23, please refer to the "9-day Weather Forecast" webpage: www.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/currwx/fnd.htm

As regards the astronomical observation conditions that evening, please refer to the "Weather Information for Astronomical Observation" webpage: www.hko.gov.hk/gts/astronomy/astro_portal.html

For a detailed explanation of the technical terms used for different stages of the eclipse and a summary of past lunar eclipses observable in Hong Kong, please refer to the following webpage: www.weather.gov.hk/gts/event/event-lunar-eclps1_e.htm

Diagram
Diagram : Path of the moon during the penumbral eclipse on March 23