The first penumbral lunar eclipse for the year will occur on March 23, 2016, a day after the Medin Full Moon Poya Day, Board Member Arthur C. Clarke Institute of Modern Technologies Professor Chandana Jayaratne said yesterday.
Professor Jayaratne who is also a Board Member of the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics and Professor of Physics University of Colombo said the eclipse would begin at 3.09 p.m. on March 23 and end at 7.24 p.m. Sri Lanka standard time.
In a penumbral eclipse, the moon will not enter into the dark shadow of the earth, but to the lighter shadow.
“Therefore, during this eclipse a person will not be able to see the dark shadow as in a total or partial lunar eclipse but only a reduction of the brightness of the moon. Penumbral eclipses are difficult to observe, especially during the early and late stages, but a distinct shading should be visible across the moon,” the Professor said.
He said the eclipse will reach its peak from the eastern horizon at 6.23 p.m. when 77 per cent of the moon’s disk will be in the earth’s penumbral shadow.
The last lunar eclipse of the year will occur at midnight on September 16, 2016, on Binara Full Moon Poya Day. (Yohan Perera)