A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse on May 5th Night, 2023

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –A penumbral lunar eclipse is visible to Sri Lanka on the night of 2023 May 5th Vesak Full Moon day.

Lunar eclipses occur on full moon days when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon, which results in obstructing some or all of the Sun’s light from reaching the Moon. This eclipse is a penumbral type of lunar eclipse occurring around the midnight between May 5th and 6th. The eclipse begins at 08.44 p.m. Sri Lanka standard time on May 5th with the Moon entering the penumbra of the earth’s shadow (less dark shadow) and ends up at 1.01 a.m. on 6th morning.

The greatest eclipse will take place at 10.52 p.m. on the 5th. A penumbral lunar eclipse happens when the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are imperfectly aligned said Prof. Chandana Jayaratne, the Director of Astronomy and Space Science Unit, Department of Physics, Colombo University. In a penumbral eclipse Moon will not enter the dark shadow(umbra) of the Earth, but the lighter-shadow (penumbral shadow). Therefore, during this particular eclipse, you will see no dark shadow as in total or partial lunar eclipses, but only a reduction of the brightness of the Moon. Penumbral eclipses are difficult to observe, especially during the early and late stages.

Nevertheless, a subtle yet distinct shading should be visible across the Moon. This eclipse is visible to countries in much of Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and Antarctica. There is a much better, a partial lunar eclipse visible to Sri Lanka on 28th October this year and after that the next lunar eclipse visible to Sri Lanka is on September 7, 2025, said Prof Jayaratne.

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