Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Total Eclipse of the Moon

28th November 2011
Total Lunar Eclipse on Sunday 11th December

Total Eclipse of the Moon

New Zealanders will get a rare opportunity to observe a total lunar eclipse in their skies in the very early morning of Sunday the 11th of December.

The eclipse will begin just after 12:30am and be visible from all of New Zealand, where the skies are clear. The period of total eclipse lasts for less than an hour, from just after 3am to just before 4am.

Observatories around the country will be hosting special events to allow the public to observe this phenomenon through powerful telescopes. In Auckland a large crowd is expected to gather at Stardome Observatory & Planetarium where the public are invited to participate in viewing the event between 12am and 6am for a gold coin donation.

In a lunar eclipse the Moon is obscured as it passes through the Earth’s shadow. There are actually two shadows, called the umbra and the penumbra. The umbra is a smaller circle of dark shadow caused by the Earth blocking all the light from the Sun to the Moon. Only a partial eclipse can be seen when the Moon is in the penumbra.

• 12:33am – First contact with penumbra (part shadow begins to creep across the Moon)
• 1:46am – First contact with umbra (full shadow begins to cross the Moon)
• 3:06am – Total eclipse starts (Moon in full dark shadow)
• 3:32am – Mid-Eclipse
• 3:57am – Total eclipse ends (lighter penumbral shadow only is across the Moon)
• 5:18am – Final contact with umbra (full light begins to cross the Moon again)
• 5:30am – Moon sets in NZ at this time

Stardome Astronomy Educator David Britten says, “The eclipsed Moon is likely to appear copper coloured to us. This is caused by a scattering of sunlight as it passes through the thin ring of the Earth’s atmosphere, removing the blue light and passing mainly the red, some of which weakly illuminates the Moon. You will need a clear eastern horizon to be able to see this eclipse. Over water would be ideal, and the further north you are located the better.”

The last lunar eclipse able to be observed in New Zealand was a total lunar eclipse in June of this year, but New Zealanders were only able to watch the first half of the eclipse before the Moon set for us. There are no total lunar eclipses in 2012. However, New Zealand is privy to prime viewing of two major celestial events next year: the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun on 6 June, and a solar eclipse on 14 November.

This eclipse of the Moon on 11 December will be visible to the naked eye, but astronomical societies around the country will be hosting viewings and the public are encouraged to take part in these.

For more information about the eclipse visit

- ENDS –

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Scouring: Cavalier Merger Would Extract 'Monopoly Rents' - Godfrey Hirst

A merger of Cavalier Wool Holdings and New Zealand Wool Services International's two wool scouring operations would create a monopoly, says carpet maker Godfrey Hirst. The Commerce Commission on Friday released its second draft determination on the merger, maintaining its view that the public benefits would outweigh the loss of competition. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: She Means Business

As Foreman says in her conclusion, this is a business book. It opens with a brief biographical section followed by a collection of interesting tips for entrepreneurs... More>>


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news