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  • Penumbral lunar eclipse on Spring Lantern Festival

  • Tuesday, 7th February 2017

A penumbral lunar eclipse will take place before sunrise on the Spring Lantern Festival this year (February 11) . The eclipse will commence at 6.32am, just 22 minutes before moonset. As the moon will be near the horizon to the west by then, the whole eclipse event will not be observable in Hong Kong. Moreover, as the eclipse will occur close to sunrise at 6.57am, the break of dawn will also make it less visible.

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. To observe and take pictures of the eclipse, members of the public may find a viewing location with an unobstructed view of the horizon to the west.

The detailed time, elevation and azimuth angles of the penumbral lunar eclipse are as follows:

Time Elevation Direction (Azimuth)
Moon enters penumbra 6.32am 4 degrees West-northwest (282 degrees)
Moonset 6.54am -1 degrees West-northwest (284 degrees)
Maximum eclipse 8.44am Below the horizon --
Moon leaves penumbra 10.55am Below the horizon --

The previous lunar eclipse on Spring Lantern Festival, which was also a penumbral eclipse, occurred on February 9, 2009. The next lunar eclipse observable in Hong Kong will be a partial eclipse on August 7 this year, while the next lunar eclipse on Spring Lantern Festival will be a total eclipse on March 3, 2026.

For the astronomical observation conditions and the latest weather conditions on the Spring Lantern Festival, please respectively refer to the "Weather Information for Astronomical Observation" webpage (www.hko.gov.hk/gts/astronomy/astro_portal.html) and the "9-day Weather Forecast" (www.hko.gov.hk/wxinfo/currwx/fnd.htm) issued by the Hong Kong Observatory.

Figure
Path of the moon during the penumbral lunar eclipse on February 11