Tuesday, 23 September 2014

What is Eclipse Season?

What is Eclipse Season?

Eclipse season means that the nodes of the lunar orbit are in alignment with the Sun. Twice a year this happens and when that alignment is right, we can get a solar eclipse and/or lunar eclipse event depending on when the full or new moon phase takes place relative to the nodal alignment.

Such is the case in October. We will have a total lunar eclipse on the 8th and a partial solar eclipse on the 23rd.

The lunar eclipse will be visible in North America (mostly western) in the pre dawn hours. Observers on the eastern coast will see the Moon set while the eclipse is still underway. Observers on the western coast see the entire eclipse event before sunrise.

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OHfigures/OH2014-Fig03.pdf

The partial solar eclipse will be visible in North America as well, weather permitting of course.

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OHfigures/OH2014-Fig04.pdf

The eclipse season is not always in October. The precession of the nodes causes it to slip slightly in the calendar. The nodes are moving westward and complete one revolution every 18.6 years. In the next years there will be eclipses in March and September shifting to February and August.

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