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

NASA Technical Publication TP-2009-214173
by Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus

The following is a brief description of the NASA Technical Publication "Five Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000" (NASA/TP-2009-214173):

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.

Details for all 12,064 eclipses are listed in a series of 202 tables making up the appendix of the Catalog. Tabulated data for each eclipse includes the catalog number, canon plate number, calendar date, Terrestrial Dynamical Time of greatest eclipse, ΔT, lunation number, Saros number, eclipse type, Quincena Solar Eclipse parameter, gamma, penumbral magnitude, umbral magnitude, duration of the penumbral, partial and total phases, and the geographic coordinates of greatest eclipse (latitude and longitude).

The Catalog also includes five descriptive sections:

  1. Tables and Predictions
  2. Time
  3. Lunar Eclipse Statistics
  4. Eclipses and the Moon's Orbit
  5. Lunar Eclipse Periodicity

The Catalog serves as a supplement to the previously published Five Millennium Canon of Lunar Eclipses which contains a figure of every eclipse. The Canon and the Catalog both use the same solar and lunar ephemerides as well as the same values of ΔT. This 1-to-1 correspondence between them enhances the value of each. The researcher may now search, evaluate, and compare eclipses graphically (Canon) or textually (Catalog).

Number of Pages: 278

Publication Date: 2009 January

The "Five Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000" (NASA/TP-2009-214173) is available on the web in PDF format:

Five Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses (13.8 MB)

Supplementary Data

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

The "Five Millennium Canon of Lunar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000" (NASA/TP-2009-214173) is also available on the web:

Five Millennium Canon 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.

2010 Jul 05