Monday, December 28, 2009

Blue Moon Partial Eclipse

Every New Year's Eve I like to get out of Dublin, or at least out of the city centre. Usually it's just nice to be able to see the stars and the sky and be outside when you're ringing in the New Year. This year, however, there's an especially good reason to be outside looking up at the stars.

On December 31st 2009 there are a number of really cool things happening. Not only is it the end of the decade, not only is it New Year's Eve, but it will also be the night of a Blue Moon Partial Eclipse.

As the Lunar Calendar is shorter then the Gregorian Calendar (the standard calendar that we use), every 2.7 years there is an 'extra' full moon. There are 13 full moons during the year instead of 12. The exact timing of this changes and there is much debate as to which full moon during a year should be classed as the Blue Moon.

In this regard there may be those who would say that next week's full moon is not a Blue Moon but the romantic in me has made up his mind. Considering that it's such a rarity to get see a Blue Moon and a Partial Eclipse (it's happened just 4 times in 20th century), I will happily defend my position based on nothing other then my own ideas.

The Eclipse shadow will peak 7:22pm (Greenwich Mean Time) and will be visible in most of Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia, as per the following rough guide:

  • North and South America: Blue moon, but no visible eclipse.
  • Europe, Africa and Middle East: Blue moon, visible eclipse
  • Asia and Australasia: Full moon (not blue), visible eclipse
On one final point, if this rare lunar event wasn't special enough as it is, you may find it a little weird to that December 31st will be the final day of the International Year of Astronomy.

Check out this video of the 2007 Blue Moon Eclipse...


topgold said...

Count me as one of the few who consider the end of the decade to be 31 December 2010.

Christian Hughes said...

I didn't realise there was anyone at all who disputed that ten years starting on Jan 1st 2000 would come to an end on December 31st 2009?

Can I ask what the logic is?