Five Millennium Canon of Lunar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000

NASA Technical Publication TP-2009-214172
by Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus

The following is a brief description of the NASA Technical Publication "Five Millennium Canon of Lunar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000" (NASA/TP-2009-214172):

During the 5,000-year period from -1999 to +3000 (2000 BCE to 3000 CE), Earth will experience 12,064 eclipses of the Moon. The statistical distribution of eclipse types for this interval is as follows: 4,378 penumbral eclipses, 4,207 partial eclipses, and 3479 total eclipses.

An individual diagram and visibility map for every lunar eclipse over the five-millennium interval is presented in the Appendix. The Moon's path through Earth's penumbral and umbral shadows illustrates the eclipse geometry and the accompanying equidistant cylindrical projection map shows the geographic region of visibility during every phase of each eclipse. The uncertainty in Earth's rotational period expressed in the parameter ΔT and its impact on the geographic visibility of eclipses in the past and future is discussed.

Number of Pages: 680

Publication Date: 2009 January

The "Five Millennium Canon of Lunar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000" (NASA/TP-2009-214172) is available on the web in PDF format. Since the complete document is approximately 103 MB, it has been broken up into a series of smaller files for easier downloads. The following table summarizes the contents of all 13 files composing the complete document.

Five Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses

Description Plates Years File Size File Name
text - - 1.5 MB 5MCLE-Text10.pdf
pages 1 to 50 -1999 to -1597 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-01.pdf
pages 51 to 100 -1597 to -1176 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-02.pdf
pages 101 to 150 -1175 to -0750 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-03.pdf
pages 151 to 200 -0750 to -0345 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-04.pdf
pages 201 to 250 -0344 to +0070 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-05.pdf
pages 251 to 300 +0071 to +0495 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-06.pdf
pages 301 to 350 +0496 to +0905 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-07.pdf
pages 351 to 400 +0905 to +1311 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-08.pdf
pages 401 to 450 +1311 to +1733 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-09.pdf
pages 451 to 500 +1733 to +2151 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-10.pdf
pages 501 to 550 +2152 to +2562 8.4 MB 5MCLE-Figs-11.pdf
pages 551 to 604 +2563 to +3000 9.1 MB 5MCLE-Figs-12.pdf

Supplementary Data

Supplementary data for the "Five Millennium Canon of Lunar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000" is also available on the web:

The "Five Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000" (NASA/TP-2008-214170), a supplemental catalog to the Canon, is also available on the web:

Five Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses


The Gregorian calendar is used for all dates from 1582 Oct 15 onwards. Before that date, the Julian calendar is used. For more information on this topic, see Calendar Dates. The Julian calendar does not include the year 0. Thus the year 1 BCE is followed by the year 1 CE (See: BCE/CE Dating Conventions ). This is awkward for arithmetic calculations. Years in this catalog are numbered astronomically and include the year 0. Historians should note there is a difference of one year between astronomical dates and BCE dates. Thus, the astronomical year 0 corresponds to 1 BCE, and astronomical year -1 corresponds to 2 BCE, etc..


Lunar eclipse predictions must take into account the enlargement of Earth's shadows. In this Catalog, Earth's penumbral and umbral shadow sizes have been calculated using Danjon's enlargement method.

The coordinates of the Sun used in the predictions are based on the VSOP87 theory [Bretagnon and Francou, 1988]. The Moon's coordinates are based on the ELP-2000/82 theory [Chapront-Touze and Chapront, 1983]. For more information, see: Solar and Lunar Ephemerides. The revised value used for the Moon's secular acceleration is n-dot = -25.858 arc-sec/cy*cy, as deduced from the Apollo lunar laser ranging experiment (Chapront, Chapront-Touze, and Francou, 2002).

The largest uncertainty in the eclipse predictions is caused by fluctuations in Earth's rotation due primarily to tidal friction of the Moon. The resultant drift in apparent clock time is expressed as ΔT and is determined as follows:

  1. pre-1950's: ΔT calculated from empirical fits to historical records derived by Morrison and Stephenson (2004)
  2. 1955-2006: ΔT obtained from published observations
  3. Post-2006: ΔT is extrapolated from current values weighted by the long term trend from tidal effects

A series of polynomial expressions have been derived to simplify the evaluation of ΔT for any time from -1999 to +3000. The uncertainty in ΔT over this period can be estimated from scatter in the measurements.

Permission is freely granted to reproduce any portion of this NASA Reference Publication. All uses and/or publication of this material should be accompanied by an appropriate acknowledgment of the source.

2009 Jun 10