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The First Lunar Eclipse of the Millennium

The Moon Guy

The first lunar eclipse of the millennium will occur on the evening of January 20-21, 2000 and promises to be very nice for sky watchers in North and South America.  Weather permitting, this may be one of the best lunar eclipses since the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991.  This volcanic eruption in the Philippines pumped particles and gasses into the atmosphere that took until 1998 to clear out. 

For those of you in the Pacific Time Zone, this will be an exceptional opportunity to take even your preschool and elementary school age children outside to see this event since it will be happening early in the evening.  If you have a pair of binoculars, they would be perfect for this since the large field of view make them ideal for lunar observing and much easier for children to use than more powerful telescopes.

Starting at January 21st at 3:01 AM Universal Time, the moon will start to enter into the Earth's umbral shadow.  This phase will take about an hour.  In that time, the Earth's shadow will slowly move across the face of the moon, leaving an orange-yellow moon.  This is because the sun is passing through the earth's atmosphere and filtering out all of the blue light.

At about 4:04 Universal Time, the moon will be completely blocked from the direct sunlight by the earth and it will in it's total eclipse phase which will last for over  1 1/4 hours.

At around 5:22 Universal Time the first sliver of sun lighted moon will be visible and the sunlit area of the moon will continue to grow until the moon completely emerges from the Earth's  shadow at 6:25 Universal Time

Evening of January 20th, 2000

Alaska
GMT-9
Pacific
GMT-8
Mountain
GMT-7
Central
GMT-6
Eastern
GMT-5
Partial Eclipse 6:01pm Alaska 7:01pm Pacific 8:01pm Mountain 9:01pm Central 10:01pm Eastern
Total Eclipse 7:04pm Alaska 8:04pm Pacific 9:04pm Mountain 10:04pm Central 11:04pm Eastern
Partial Eclipse 8:22pm Alaska 9:22pm Pacific 10:22pm Mountain 11:22pm Central 12:22am Eastern
Eclipse Completed 9:25pm Alaska 10:25pm Pacific 11:25pm Mountain 12:25am Central 1:25am Eastern
 

Blue Bar

References