Lunar Eclipse this weekend, but not for Utah


There is a total lunar eclipse coming up on Saturday, December 10th, 2011. This eclipse is best for viewers in Australia and east Asia. The eclipse will not be visible at all for viewers in west Africa and South America.

Here in Utah (and the intermountain west) we may get a brief glimpse of the beginning of the eclipse in the early morning hours. It really depends on where you live and your view of the western horizon.

The umbral phase of the eclipse begins about 5:45 am, MST; with totality beginning about 7:06 am, MST. Unfortunately, moonset is about 7:45 am, MST on a flat horizon. For the Salt Lake valley, with the Oquirrh Mountains to the west, we will miss totality, but may get a glimpse of the early stages of the eclipse.

Moonset on western horizon as eclipse begins

Moonset on western horizon as eclipse begins

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the shadow cast by the Earth out into space. This means that we must be at Full Moon, and the Moon must be in line with the Sun and Earth at that time.

There are no total lunar eclipses for 2012. However, we are in for two rare events next year. There is an annular solar eclipse for observers in the western US and Canada on May 20th, 2012. Even more exciting is the coming transit of Venus on June 5th/6th (depending on where you live). More on these event as we get into 2012.

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7 thoughts on “Lunar Eclipse this weekend, but not for Utah

  1. Is it worth try to get up and see the eclipse or is there really very little chance of seeing it? Better chance to see it longer if we are higher up, say on a mountain top?

  2. Hi James,

    The Oquirrh mountains will be an obsticale for Salt Lake viewers tomorrow during totality and the sky will be getting bright during the eclipse. Getting up in elevation will help, but the time of day is not optimal for viewing. Hope that helps.

  3. Thanks Dani. I appreciate your response and it does help. I don’t live in SL (in Heber Valley) but was willing to travel to get a better view of the eclipse. Doesn’t sound like it will be worth the effort.

  4. If we were going out to rush valley south of tooele to try and see it as it happens would that be better?

  5. My brother and I saw part of the eclipse, just the glimpse, the moon was so beautiful and it was so bright. My brother just love the moon, me too.

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