Discuss as:

Eclipse dims the moon's glow

Andrew Wall

Astrophotographer Andrew Wall captured images of the moon before and during the penumbral lunar eclipse (left and right, respectively). "The images were taken from my backyard in Paralowie, South Australia," he said in an email. Six frames were stacked to produce each image.


Did you catch today's eclipse? You probably didn't notice the penumbral lunar eclipse unless you knew it was coming — but fortunately, skywatchers around the world were clearly ready.

This photo by Australian astrophotographer Andrew Wall illustrates just how subtle the eclipse was. Earth's fuzzy shadow dimmed the bright lunar disk at the height of the eclipse, which translated to 9:33 a.m. ET today.


The dimming effect was muted because the moon traveled just through the very edge of the shadow this time around — and not through the deepest part of the shadow, as it did during last December's total lunar eclipse.

The prime viewing area included Australia and the Pacific as well as Alaska and most of Asia.

"There was a very subtle darkening of the lunar limb at totality; barely noticeable to the untrained eye," Pakistani skywatcher Ramiz Qureshi told SpaceWeather.com in a report from Karachi. "In fact, I nearly missed it until a friend reminded me."

Qureshi put together a close-up shot and a wider-angle photograph to create this composite view of the eclipse. We also received a picture from Terry Staats in Chiba City, Japan, via NBC News' FirstPerson photo-uploading page. If you missed today's subtle show, there'll be three replays next year — including a partial lunar eclipse on April 25 and penumbral eclipses on May 25 and Oct. 18.

For more views of today's lunar eclipse, as well as the total solar eclipse that took place two weeks ago, check out SpaceWeather.com's eclipse photo gallery.

Rob Kaufman

Rob Kaufman, an astrophotographer from Bright, Australia, also captured a pre-eclipse picture of the moon at 12:00 GMT Wednesday (left), and a picture at maximum eclipse at 14:34 GMT (right).

Ramiz Qureshi

A composite photo from Ramiz Qureshi in Karachi, Pakistan, shows the slightly dimmed moon above an industrial skyline.

Romeo Ranoco / Reuters

A penumbral eclipse of the moon is seen over Manila in the Philippines. The term "penumbral" refers to the partially shaded outer region of a shadow that an object casts. This type of eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the faint penumbral portion of Earth's shadow.

Terry Staats

Earth's shadow slightly darkens the moon over Chiba City in Japan.

More about lunar eclipses:


Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered via email. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.