Spooky sight before Halloween

The Moon enters Earth's shadow for a partial lunar eclipse over North America October 17.
By | Published: October 11, 2005 | Last updated on May 18, 2023

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October 11, 2005

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WAUKESHA, WI &#151 October 17th brings the Moon into Earth’s shadow for a partial lunar eclipse over North America. This event is a “partial” eclipse because only 7 percent of the Moon dips into the umbra, the darkest part of the shadow. But the entire face of the Moon will pass through the lighter penumbra and turn a dark gray &#151 an eerie sight just 2 weeks before Halloween!

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Full Moon align in that order. Viewers can expect to see a bite taken out of the Full Moon’s southern limb, while the rest of the disk takes on a more grayish hue than normal.

On the 17th, the eclipse starts at 5:51 A.M. EDT (2:51 A.M. PDT). It will take 4 hours and 24 minutes for the Moon to pass through the shadow completely. Viewers in eastern North America will see only the early phases of the eclipse.

The eclipse will be easy to see with your naked eyes, but try using binoculars or a telescope for close-up looks at the Moon’s dark, flat maria, or “seas,” and light craters. Our satellite is a great &#151 and easy &#151 object to observe, even from a brightly lit city.

The next time North Americans will see a lunar eclipse will be March 14, 2006.

Eclipse begins 2:51 A.M. PDT
Umbral eclipse begins 4:34 A.M. PDT
Mideclipse 5:03 A.M. PDT
Umbral eclipse ends 5:32 A.M. PDT
Eclipse ends 7:15 A.M. PDT

More October sky highlights:

  • October 19: The Moon passes 5° north of Mars at 9 A.M. EDT (1° is equal to 2 Full-Moon widths).
  • October 25: The Moon passes 4° north of Saturn at 1 p.M. EDT.