16 June 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse

15/06/2011 – Dhahran Hills

The Lunar eclipse (when the moon enters the shadow of the earth) last night 15th June 2011 was the darkest lunar eclipse for almost 87 years as the centers of the sun, the earth and the moon were nearly in a straight line. The last darker lunar eclipse was almost 40 years ago on 6th August 1971 and the next one that will be darker will be in 47 years from now on, 6th June 2058.

We were lucky here in Dhahran as we could observe the entire eclipse from beginning to end with the total eclipse phase lasting for 100 minutes (the fifth longest this century – longest 27th July 2018). The lunar eclipse is due to the earth being directly between the moon and the sun, blocking the sunlight from reaching the moon, and during totality, the moon is illuminated only by light that has been refracted through the upper part of the Earth's atmosphere, hence the coppery-red colour of the eclipsed Moon.

Timings were in local time:-
Began - 21:23 hrs
Total Eclipse - 10:22 - 12:03 hrs
End - 01:02 hrs on 16th June 2011