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Total Lunar Eclipse - 16 June 2011

Updated on January 27, 2018
agvulpes profile image

A passionate lover of his native Australia, Peter loves to share with the world the wonders of this beautiful Country called Australia.

Moon about three quarters of the way into Total Eclipse.
Moon about three quarters of the way into Total Eclipse.

Total Lunar Eclipse

On the 16th June 2011, I was fortunate to witness a reasonably rare astronomical event. It is what's known as a Total Lunar Eclipse.

The Moon in some form or other has always held a fascination. I can remember as a kid reading all I could about the Moon and studied its movements any time that I had the opportunity.

So I set my mental alarm clock and sure enough awoke early in the morning. Believe me, it was freezing, the temperature was around Zero Celsius ( really!!) just in time to see the Moon entering into the Eclipse!

According to experts, this Total Eclipse was one of the best ever and is the longest since the Total Eclipse that occurred in 2000 which just happened to be one of the three longest Total Lunar Eclipses since 1000 BC. There's a piece of Knowledge for your next game of Trivial Pursuit!

This Total Eclipse started it's traverse across the Moon or it is probably more correct to say that the Moon started its traverse through the Earth's shadow at around 4.23 am with Total Eclipse around 5.22 am. The Total Eclipse lasted for approximately 100 minutes

How to recognize an Eclipse

Some readers my not fully understand what actually happens during an Eclipse, a Lunar Eclipse in particular. I will digress and try briefly to explain what I believe happens.
Basically, there are three heavenly bodies involved:

  • Sun
  • Earth
  • Moon

In relation to Eclipses we find that in normal day to day operation what happens is that there are two orbits that concern our Eclipses:

  • The Earth orbits around the Sun
  • The Moon orbits around the Earth.

These two orbits are not related to each other and cannot travel the same orbital path however at times from where we are viewing they do intersect!
We must also remember that the Sun is indeed many, many miles further away from the earth than the Moon, meaning that the Moon in it's orbiting around the Earth has the ability (at times) to pass between the Sun and the Earth. This would be a Solar Eclipse!

Total Lunar Eclipse expained!

Eclipses are all about 'shadow' the technical term is 'Umbra' (Now you know where the name Umbrella originated) The Umbra in the diagram is indicated by the 'darkest' part of the shadow of the Earth.

Please let me explain further!

Let's conduct a little experiment with 'shadow' where you sit right now?

First, we need the following props:

  • a light source a single lamp is good, that will be our Sun.
  • a round flat tin, that will be our Earth.
  • another round object smaller than the Earth, that will be our Moon.
  • one sheet of white paper. to get the best shadow effect!

Ok got all of that?
Turn on the lamp :-) I've used the ceiling fluoro for this demo, place the paper on the desk. Next, hold the Earth so that a shadow is cast on the paper, make sure that there is space between the Earth and the Paper! Keep in mind that in 'real life' the paper would not be there and you would not see any 'shadow' it would extend out into space. This is referred to as 'night time' :-)
Now slowly move the Moon between the Earth and the paper!
What do you see happening?
The Shadow of our Earth appears to be moving across the face of the Moon right?

Notice anything else? The 'shadow' being cast is 'arc' shaped, following the contour of our Earth.
If you were to move our Moon right through the shadow of our Earth you would see the Moon emerging from the shadow of the Earth to once again be hit by Sun Light.
Bravo. You have now made your own Eclipse!

Bear in mind that to get the correct perspective you should imagine that you are positioned on the surface of our Earth looking out at our Moon and the Moon would also be a lot smaller but I hope this has given you some insight into what constitutes an Eclipse?
For it to be a Total Eclipse, the whole of the body of the Moon must be completely covered by the Earths shadow in the same instant.

Total Lunar Eclipse

Diagram of how a Total Lunar Eclipse occurs with views indicating what we would see on Earth!  (definitely NOT to scale) With thanks to Sagredo for partial  schematic
Diagram of how a Total Lunar Eclipse occurs with views indicating what we would see on Earth! (definitely NOT to scale) With thanks to Sagredo for partial schematic

Start with a Full Moon !

Full Moon ( Super Moon ) The Moon in all of its brilliant splendor - No Eclipse here !!!
Full Moon ( Super Moon ) The Moon in all of its brilliant splendor - No Eclipse here !!!

Moon Partly Covered

Moon has just entered into the Eclipse .
Moon has just entered into the Eclipse .

Getting Closer

During the Total Lunar Eclipse 16-06-2011.
During the Total Lunar Eclipse 16-06-2011.

Nearly There

The last rays of Sunshine about to leave the Moon - nearing Total Lunar Eclipse!
The last rays of Sunshine about to leave the Moon - nearing Total Lunar Eclipse!

Finish with Total Lunar Eclipse

Moon very close to being in Total Eclipse.
Moon very close to being in Total Eclipse.

Have you ever witnessed a Total Lunar Eclipse?

See results

Disclaimer and Questions

I am not claiming 'expert' status with regard to this matter I just find the subject to be very interesting.

Having said that I believe the above to be an accurate assessment of how a Total Lunar Eclipse occurs.

However if anyone disagrees or would like to add further to the discussion by all means, via the 'comment' boxes below, feel free to contribute your thoughts or Questions!

© 2011 Peter

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    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      3 years ago from Australia

      @BWD316 It's hard to believe that the Lunar Eclipse was nearly 4 years ago?

      We have just had a partial Lunar Eclipse and I only got a small glimpse due to cloud cover. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a nice comment :)

    • BWD316 profile image

      Brian Dooling 

      3 years ago from Connecticut

      Awesome photos! I saw a lunar eclipse years and years ago but have missed recent ones do to cloudy conditions. Great hub!

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      SusieQ42 thanks so much for your kind comment and I hope in some small way my hub about the Total Lunar Eclipse was found to be useful.:-)

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 

      7 years ago

      I'm glad I visited tonight. I don't know much about the eclipse, but your hub was very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      G'day b.a.d. and thanks for the kind comment:-) You have made me think about how many of us do not understand what happens during a Total Lunar Eclipse?

      Thanks for dropping by:-)

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the description of the total lunar eclipse and the wonderful photos - perfect for astronomy students and the amateur stargazers amongst us.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      @marshacanada thanks so much for your kind comment!

      I know what you mean the body can take just so much when there is a nice warm bed beckoning lol

      However for me it was well worth it to get up to watch the Total Lunar Eclipse and share it with all my friends. I wish I had got a picture of the meteor flashing across the sky!

      Thanks again for dropping by :-)

    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 

      7 years ago from Vancouver BC

      I also loved your pictures agvulpes. And I have also stood shivering to watch this beautiful sight but never for very long since cold and fatigue won out.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Alladream, you are welcome!

    • Alladream74 profile image

      Victor Mavedzenge 

      7 years ago from Oakland, California

      Thanks for sharing

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Thanks mate, I am fascinated by Total Lunar Eclipses especially with the accuracy that they can be predicted !

    • rihsam10 profile image

      rihsam10 

      7 years ago

      interesting hub

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Rod that was unfortunate for you to miss such a spectacle!

      I'm starting to realise just how lucky I was to see the Total Eclipse in all of it's glory. I can only imagine what people thought was happening back in the dark ages?

      What amazes me is that these Lunar and Solar eclipses can be pinpointed so accurately!

      Thanks so much for your support, it is much appreciated:-)

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 

      7 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      There was too much cloud cover on the south coast of NSW at the time to see anything other than cloud. I am glad you got to see it. Yes. It was very cold. Voted up.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Yes mate it was cold. So cold in fact that it would freeze the b.... off a brass monkey, if you know what I mean ;-)

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 

      7 years ago from Australia

      But it was cold outside, wasn't it?

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      LOL My mum and dad came out from England before I was born and they told me a lot about English seasons. I think I will stay in OZ thank you lol

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Tried that, but I ran out of Puff! ha ha your winter is probably better than our summer!

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      G'day Nell, sorry to hear you missed the Total Lunar Eclipse due to cloud cover, 9.30pm would have been a much more civilized time to watch the spectacle lol

      I would have thought your guys in England would have used their ingenuity and somehow blown those pesky clouds away lol

      I was actually very surprised to find that our sky was as clear as a bell, as I said the temp here was Zero and we had a very heavy frost that morning.

      Thanks for dropping by Nell I appreciate your visit :-)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, great stuff! I missed it too! In England, it was supposed to be about 9 30 at night, but it was covered up as usual! but we have seen one before, and I remember the spooky red around it, thanks for the pictures, saved me trying to push the clouds out the way! lol metaphorically speaking of course! thanks

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      @paulgc, thanks for your kind comment. The closer the Moon got to Total Eclipse the harder it was to get a good image. I did not have a tripod available with me so had to go 'hand held'.

      It was bad luck for you with the cloud cover, I would love to know what time of day the Total Lunar Eclipse occurred in England?

      I was very fortunate indeed as there was not a cloud in the sky and the ash cloud from the Volcano gave the moon a 'reddish' 'orange' tint. I was also given an extra bit of excitement when a meteor flashed across the sky. It was quite eerie!

      Thanks for you support it is much appreciated :-)

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      @attemptedhumor, no my name is not A.G.Vulpes but not a bad idea?

      What, you got no sense of adventure ?

      Pictures do not, the full picture paint! You have to see the whole sky in all it's glory to appreciate the full beauty of a total lunar eclipse.

      Thanks for dropping by, cheers :-)

    • profile image

      paulgc 

      7 years ago

      Excellent article and a wonderful set of lunar images.

      I tried to get my own pictures but alas the cloud cover was too thick over my part of England, typical.

      Thanks for sharing,

      Voted up and useful.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Hi agvulpes. First of all why have you got such a dodgy name? Or is your name actually A.G. Vulpes?

      Now, i was tucked up in bed during that freezing cold night, being content enough to wait a thousand years for the next one, but my adventurous, inquisitive wife Linda ventured out to marvel at the scene unfolding. She was suitably excited but didn't get a photo, unusual for her as she's normally snap happy. She's in the process of buying a new camera, either a Canon, or a Nickon, i think. Which one has the thousand year guarantee? Cheers nice pics and saved me from getting up.

    • agvulpes profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter 

      7 years ago from Australia

      G'day mate and thanks for dropping by! I appreciate your kind comment. The images of the Total Lunar Eclipse were all taken by me and my trusty Canon Camera :-)

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      It looks right to me. good pictures.

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