Moon begins to wane ahead of eclipse

The phases of the moon during any given 28-day lunar cycle don’t ordinarily make news headlines. But this is not an ordinary lunar month.


Last night’s full moon, photo taken at Chandler, Ariz. (Voxitatis)

The moon is shown here just a few hours after it became a full moon, which, this time, means that in half a lunar month, or about 14 days, the moon will become a new moon. At that time, of course, it will be perfectly positioned in between the continental US and the sun, producing the first total solar eclipse to touch the continental US since February 26, 1979.

And the moon’s umbral shadow during the 1979 eclipse just grazed a few states on our northern border. The next one after this will be April 8, 2024; and if you miss that one, the next one in the continental US will be on August 12, 2045. The path of totality for the 2024 eclipse will also hit Illinois but will stretch from the Mexican border to New England. The path for the 2045 eclipse will be just a state or so south of the one in two weeks.

Movement of the center line (watch the dot)

Moment on August 21 Time (GMT)
Eclipse begins (penumbra contact-P1) 15:46:51.1
Center line begins (umbra contact-U1) 16:48:35.7
Local apparent noon on center line 18:13.2
Greatest Eclipse 18:25:31.5
Center line ends (U4) 20:02:34.0
Last contact with Earth (P4) 21:04:23.1

In the table above, we present information on the movement of the moon’s shadow across the Earth. Times on the center line refer to the moon’s umbral shadow.

\textrm{EDT} = \textrm{GMT} - 4 \textrm{ hours}
\textrm{CDT} = \textrm{GMT} - 5 \textrm{ hours}
\textrm{MDT} = \textrm{GMT} - 6 \textrm{ hours}
\textrm{PDT} = \textrm{GMT} - 7 \textrm{ hours}

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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