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Press Release

Total Lunar Eclipse: July 16, 2000

Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC

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An eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon, and only if the Moon passes through some portion of Earth's shadow. The shadow is actually composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other. The outer or penumbral shadow is a zone where Earth blocks some (but not all) of the Sun's rays. In contrast, the inner or umbral shadow is a region where Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon.

If the Moon passes through only part on the umbra, a partial eclipse is seen. However, if the entire Moon passes through the umbral shadow, then a total eclipse of the Moon occurs. For more information on what, why, how, when and where of lunar eclipses, see the special web site lunar eclipses for beginners.

On Sunday, July 16, 2000, an eclipse of the Moon will be visible from western North and South America, the Pacific Ocean, Australia and eastern Asia. The total phase or totality lasts a remarkable 1 hour and 47 minutes. This is within seconds of the theoretical maximum duration. A total eclipse hasn't lasted this long since 1859 and it will not be equaled again for over a thousand years! Totality lasts so extrodinarily long because the Moon passes almost exactly through the center of Earth's umbral shadow. In addition, the Moon was near apogee so that its orbital motion was at a minimum which prolonged its passage through the umbra. The combination of apogee and near perfect shadow geometry are very rare.

Unfortunately, totality will not be visible from the Americas since it occurs after moonset. Furthermore, only the western parts of the U.S., Canada and Mexico will be able to see the beginning stages of the partial phases during the early morning hours on July 16. The further west you are, the more you will see. Totality, that most desirable phase, frustratingly begins just as the Moon sets along the Pacific coast of California. A much better view will be enjoyed further west in the Pacific. For instance, the Hawaiian Islands will see all of the partial and total phases as will Japan, the Phillipines, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.

Eclipse Map

Map showing the global visibility of the Total Lunar Eclipse of 2000 July 16.
(Click to see larger version of this map)

P1 - Penumbral eclipse begins (not visible to the eye)
U1 - Partial eclipse begins
U2 - Total eclipse begins
U3 - Total eclipse ends
U4 - Partial eclipse ends
P4 - Penumbral eclipse ends (not visible to the eye)

The map above shows the exact geographic regions of visibility for each phase of the eclipse. No portion of the eclipse is visible from within the dark grey region. For anyone located in the blue shaded region labeled Eclipse at Moonset, this means that Moon will set while some phase of the eclipse is still in progress. The curves labeled P1, U1, U2, U3, U4, and P1 represent each phase of the eclipse (see the key above). If you are east (right) of a particular curve, that phase occurs after moonset and you will not see it. However, if you are west (left) of a curve, that phase occurs before moonset and you will see it (weather permitting!).

Let's use Hawaii as an example. On the above map, Hawaii lies just west (left) of the U4 curve (partial eclipse ends). This means that Hawaii will just see the end of the partial eclipse just before moonset (and sunrise). Of course, Hawaii also sees totality and all the other partial phases since the islands are west (left) of curves U1, U2 and U3.

For the blue shaded region labeled Eclipse at Moonrise (Africa & Asia), the situation is reversed. Here the Moon will rise after the eclipse has already begun, but is still in progress. If you are east (right) of a particular curve, that phase occurs after moonrise so you will see it. However, if you are west (left) of a curve, that phase occurs before moonrise and you will not see it.

All total eclipses start with a penumbral followed by a partial eclipse, and end with a partial followed by a penumbral eclipse (the total eclipse is sandwiched in the middle). Since the penumbral phases of the eclipse are so difficult to see, we will ignore them.

From start to finish, July's lunar eclipse lasts nearly four hours. The partial eclipse begins as the Moon's eastern edge slowly moves into the Earth's umbral shadow. During the partial phases, it takes just over an hour for the Moon's orbital motion to carry it entirely within the Earth's dark umbra. Since no major volcanic eruptions have taken place recently, the Moon will probably take on a vivid red or orange color during the 1 hour and 47 minute long total phase. After the total phase ends, it is once again followed by a partial eclipse as the Moon gradually leaves the umbral shadow.

The major phases of the eclipse occur as follows. The penumbral phase begins at 10:46.6 GMT, but most observers will not be able to visually detect the shadow until 11:15 GMT or so. The partial eclipse commences with first umbral contact at 11:57.3 GMT. Totality begins at 13:02.1 GMT and lasts until 14:49.1 GMT. The partial and penumbral phases end at 15:53.9 GMT and 17:04.5 GMT, respectively.

Total Lunar Eclipse of July 16, 2000
Event Time
Partial Eclipse Begins: 11:57 AM 04:57 AM 01:57 AM 11:57 PM 09:57 PM 08:57 PM07:57 PM
Total Eclipse Begins: 01:02 PM 06:02 AM 03:02 AM 01:02 AM 11:02 PM 10:02 PM09:02 PM
Mid-Eclipse: 01:56 PM 06:56 AM* 03:56 AM 01:56 AM 11:56 PM 10:56 PM09:56 PM
Total Eclipse Ends: 02:49 PM 07:49 AM* 04:49 AM 02:49 AM 12:49 AM 11:49 PM10:49 PM
Partial Eclipse Ends: 03:54 PM 08:54 AM* 05:54 AM 03:54 AM 01:54 AM 12:54 AM11:54 PM

* Not visible from U.S./Canada because event occurs after moonset

** Event occurs on morning of July 17, 2000

GST - Greenwich Mean Time
PDT - Pacific Daylight Time (= GMT - 7 hrs)
HST - Hawaii Standard Time (= GMT - 10 hrs)
NZST - New Zealand Standard Time (= GMT + 12 hrs)
EAST - East Australia Standard Time (= GMT + 10 hrs)
CAST - Central Australia Standard Time (= GMT + 9 hrs) "Japan Time"
WAST - West Australia Standard Time (= GMT + 8 hrs)

The table above gives Greenwich Mean Time as well as local time of the major eclipse phases for a number of regions in the Pacific.

To calculate the eclipse circumstances for your city, visit the U. S. Naval Observatory's Lunar Eclipse Computer.

Eclipse Diagram

Path of the Moon through Earth's umbral and penumbral shadows
during the Total Lunar Eclipse of 2000 July 16.
(Pacific Daylight Time for western U.S. and Canada)

Lunar Eclipse Diagrams

The following diagrams show the Moon's path through Earth's shadows (higher resolution versions of the above figure). The times of major stages of the eclipse are given for a number of time zones. Please choose the diagram for your own time zone.

Some people may be puzzled that the Moon's motion is from west to east in these diagrams, instead of its daily east to west motion. However, the Moon actually moves WEST to EAST with respect to the Earth's shadow and the stars.

Permission is freely granted to reproduce these eclipse diagrams when accompanied by an acknowledgment:

"Courtesy of Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC"

At the instant of mid-totality (13:55.6 GMT), the Moon will stand at the zenith for observers near Cairns, Australia. At that time, the umbral eclipse magnitude will be 1.7734, the largest magnitude since 1859. During the previous eclipse of this series (1982 Jul 06), the author watched totality while the Moon stood high above the Chesapeake Bay. I was amazed at how brilliantly the summer Milky Way glowed since it was all but invisible during the partial phases. It was an incredibly beautiful sight. Observers of this July's eclipse will have a similar opportunity. In this case, the totally eclipsed Moon will lie some twenty degrees east of the Milky Way star clouds of Sagittarius. A large variation in shadow brightness can be expected and observers are encouraged to estimate the Danjon value at different times during totality ( Danjon Brightness Scale). Note that it may also be necessary to assign different Danjon values to different portions of the Moon at different times.

An eclipse of the Moon also presents a tempting target to photograph. Fortunately, lunar eclipse photography is easy provided that you have the right equipment and use it correctly. For examples of photographs taken during previous lunar eclipses, please visit the Lunar Eclipse Gallery.

Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are completely safe to watch. You don't need any kind of protective filters. It isn't even necessary to use a telescope. You can watch the lunar eclipse with nothing more than your own two eyes. If you have a pair of binoculars, they will help magnify the view and will make the red coloration brighter and easier to see. A standard pair of 7x35 or 7x50 binoculars work fine. Remember to dress warmly and enjoy the spectacle!

1993 Total Lunar Eclipse

Phases of the total lunar eclipse 1993 Nov 29. Courtesy of

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Eclipse Frequency and Future Eclipses

During the five millennium period from 2000BC through 3000 AD, there are 7,718 eclipses1 of the Moon (including both partial and total). There are anywhere from 0 to 3 lunar eclipses (including partial and total) each year. The last time that three total lunar eclipses occurred in one calendar year was in 1982. Partial eclipses slightly outnumber total eclipses by 7 to 6.

The last total lunar eclipse visible from the United States occured on Sept. 26, 1996. North Americans won't have another opportunity to see a total lunar eclipse until May 16, 2003. However, on July 16, 2000, Hawaii, Australia and Asia will see the longest total lunar eclipse in 140 years (since 1859). It will last 1 hour and 47 minutes.

The table below lists every lunar eclipse from 2000 through 2005. Click on the eclipse Date to see a map and diagram of an eclipse. Click on the Region of Eclipse Visibility to see a detailed description of an eclipse. Although penumbral lunar eclipses are included in this list, they are usually quite difficult to observe because of their subtlety. The penumbra is a partial shadow which still permits some direct sunlight to reach the Moon.

The Umbral Magnitude is the fraction on the Moon's diameter immersed in the umbra at maximum eclipse. For values greater than 1.0, it is a total eclipse. For negative values, it is a penumbral eclipse. The Total Duration is the duration of the total phase (total eclipses only).

Lunar Eclipses: 2000 - 2005
Geographic Region of
Eclipse Visibility
2000 Jan 21 Total 1.330 78m Pacific, Americas, Europe, Africa
2000 Jul 16 Total 1.773 108m Asia, Pacific, w Americas
2001 Jan 09 Total 1.195 01h02m e Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia
2001 Jul 05 Partial 0.499 - e Africa, Asia, Aus., Pacific
2001 Dec 30 Penumbral -0.110 - e Asia, Aus., Pacific, Americas
2002 May 26 Penumbral -0.283 - e Asia, Aus., Pacific, w Americas
2002 Jun 24 Penumbral -0.788 - S. America, Europe, Africa, c Asia, Aus.
2002 Nov 20 Penumbral -0.222 - Americas, Europe, Africa, e Asia
2003 May 16 Total 1.134 00h53m c Pacific, Americas, Europe, Africa
2003 Nov 09 Total 1.022 00h24m Americas, Europe, Africa, c Asia
2004 May 04 Total 1.309 01h16m S. America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Aus.
2004 Oct 28 Total 1.313 01h21m Americas, Europe, Africa, c Asia
2005 Apr 24 Penumbral -0.139 - e Asia, Aus., Pacific, Americas
2005 Oct 17 Partial 0.068 - Asia, Aus., Pacific, North America

Geographic abreviations (used above): n = north, s = south, e = east, w = west, c = central

1 Only eclipses where the Moon passes through Earth's umbral shadow are included in these values. A lesser type of eclipse is the penumbral eclipse which occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth's faint penumbral shadow. Penumbral eclipses are rarely discernable to the naked eye and are of lesser importance than umbral eclipses.

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Live Web Coverage of the Eclipse

We will list links for live web coverage of the eclipse as they become available.

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Web Resources

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All eclipse calculations are by Fred Espenak, and he assumes full responsibility for their accuracy. Some of the information presented in this catalog is based on data originally published in Fifty Year Canon of Lunar Eclipses: 1986 - 2035.

Permission is freely granted to reproduce this data when accompanied by the following acknowledgment:

"Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC"

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WebMaster: Fred Espenak
Planetary Systems Branch - Code 693

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771 USA

Last revised: 2004 Nov 08 - F. Espenak