August 16, 2008: Partial lunar eclipse

Lunar eclipses are beautiful events where you expect to see a full moon but instead you see Luna obscured while it crosses Earth's shadow. On August 16, 2008 there was a partial lunar eclipse, 15 days after August 2nd's solar eclipse.

Two things connect both eclipses. First it's common to have solar and lunar eclipses around the same time. Second, both events were challenging to observe due to high altitude clouds in Brussels.

Tonight I first had to search for Luna as it was invisible at first. After a while the clouds started thinning hence I could see the eclipse, although it was a hazy event this time. The haze nearly vanished 30 minutes after the maximum eclipse (which was at 21:10 UTC hence not visible from the Americas). I was glad to have seen how the shadow evolved during the eclipse, but I only observed with 15x70 binoculars held by hand.

March 2007's total lunar eclipse was much more spectacular, not only because it was a total eclipse, but also because the weather was excellent while I was observing at the Urania public observatory of Hove (close to Antwerp). I really loved the color Luna featured during that eclipse.

I hope many other observers enjoyed this eclipse as next one will be in the early hours of December 21st, 2010. Or at least for me I'll only see part of it before sunrise (and moonset).

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