© NASA/Bill Ingalls
Lunar eclipses are quite beautiful and easy to follow phenomena. We're lucky, the next one is expected to pass overhead this Saturday night (October 28) into Sunday. According to information from the French Astronomy Society, you will have to look up to the sky from the start of the evening. From 8 p.m., the Moon should take on a copper hue, a sign of the arrival of the eclipse. Our satellite will then pass into a shadow cone, when it is perfectly aligned with the Earth.
A few minutes later, the Moon will return to its original color and the phenomenon will be over. The peak of the eclipse should arrive in mainland France around 10:14 p.m. while the phenomenon will be completely over around 12 a.m.
What is a lunar eclipse< /b> ?
Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth comes between the Moon and the Sun. It will then cast a shadow on our satellite. If this shadow is only partial, the light from the Sun will arrive on the Moon, in a roundabout way, giving it this characteristic brown color.
It will also be possible to see the Earth's shadow moving across the surface of the Moon. This year's eclipse is only partial. This means that the Moon, Sun and Earth will not be perfectly aligned, so our satellite will not disappear into the darkness.
How to observe a lunar eclipse< b> ?
The main advantage of lunar eclipses is that they do not require any special equipment. Thanks to the size and fairly strong luminosity of the Moon, it is observable with the naked eye and the nuances of color, as well as the Earth's shadow are easily visible.
To have the best possible point of view, there are however some good gestures to be made. The main enemy of all amateur astronomers is light pollution. You must therefore try to move away as much as possible from urban areas, which are often very well lit.
You also need to keep an eye on the weather. It is impossible to see a lunar eclipse if the sky is blocked by clouds along its entire length. As the forecasts are not very good for this weekend, this factor may spoil the evening for many amateur astronomers.
If you have the opportunity to go up in altitude, the high points can be good solutions to combat both the vagaries of the weather, but also light pollution.
When to see the next lunar eclipse ?
This Saturday's lunar eclipse will undoubtedly be very interesting to observe, but rest assured, it is not the only one we will see in our lifetime. These eclipses are actually quite common phenomena. The Canadian space agency estimates that a lunar eclipse occurs approximately every six months.
The next one to pass in France should be visible on the night of Sunday to Monday March 25, 2024. It will take suddenly get up very early with a peak of the eclipse visible around 5 a.m.