If you ever see an eclipse, look around two weeks later and you may see another. On July 2, 2019 there was a total solar eclipse, exacting proof that a New Moon crossed the ecliptic (the Sun’s path through the sky) just at the right moment to block 100% of the Sun for a few minutes as seen from Chile and Argentina.
Fast forward two weeks to Tuesday, July 16, 2019, and the Full Moon is still plotting a similar course around Earth. The result? A lunar eclipse.“Solar eclipses and lunar eclipses occur in pairs,” says Dr. Paige Godfrey, an astrophysicist at Slooh, a global network of online telescopes that will stream the event live online at 11:40 PDT and 14:40 PM EDT (18:40 UTC) on July 16. “A solar eclipse occurs during a New Moon, when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun [while] a lunar eclipse occurs two weeks before or after during a Full Moon, when the Moon moves behind Earth into its shadow,” says Godfrey. “Many cosmic coincidences must align for this celestial phenomenon to occur. It’s a game of orbital hide and seek.”
It has a grand name befitting of the internet. Of course it does. However, the “Half-Blood Thunder Moon Eclipse” moniker is worth teasing apart. “Half-Blood” is the giveaway. Rather than being a total lunar eclipse, typically called a “Blood Moon”, this is going to be a partial lunar eclipse. Half a blood moon. It may sound like a lesser event, but Tuesday’s “Half-Blood Thunder Moon Eclipse” promises to be a rather special celestial event for some observers.
The kicker is that you’re going to have to be in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia or Australasia to see it. In fact, anywhere but North America, where the event will have ceased by the time the moon rises on July 16.
What is a ‘Half-Blood Thunder Moon Eclipse’?
It’s so nearly a “proper Blood Moon”, but not quite. “Although this isn’t a total lunar eclipse, we will still see the magical change of color as 65% of the Full Buck Moon enters Earth’s umbral shadow,” says Paul Cox, Slooh’s Chief Astronomical Officer. “It’s difficult to predict the color of an eclipsed Moon because the condition of Earth’s atmosphere affects it, but with recent volcanic activity spewing dust into the atmosphere, we’re hoping for a ‘Half Blood Moon’.”
Why London is a good place to watch the ‘Half-Blood Thunder Moon Eclipse’
In London, the event begins as the moon rises. The partial lunar eclipse will actually already be happening when the moon appears in the east at 21:06 p.m. though the maximum eclipse is not reached until 22:30 p.m. That means a good amount of time to find a great photograph of this weird-looking event behind London’s plethora of sights.
Tower Bridge, The Gherkin, the London Eye … the choices for compositions are endless. Even when the partial eclipse ceases at midnight the moon will only be 14° up in the southeastern sky. Those in London should consider going to the Thames for a good view of it hanging over the South Bank.
When to see the ‘Half-Blood Thunder Moon Eclipse’
Lunar eclipses are global events that occur simultaneously everywhere on the night-side of Earth. I’ve given the local times of ‘maximum red’ eclipse from a variety of global cities, when the spectacle will look its most dramatic, though you should look 90 minutes before (and after) if you want to track the progress of the Earth’s shadow across the moon, and watch it go reddish (though you can give the preceding “penumbral eclipse” a miss). The times come from timeanddate.com, where you can enter the name of any town or city and get an exact schedule.
A partially eclipsed moon will rise in the east at dusk on July 16, 2019
Sao Paulo, Brazil: 18:30 p.m. (moonrise is at 17:30 p.m.)
Buenos Aires, Argentina: 18:30 p.m. (moonrise is at 17:54 p.m.)
London, UK: 22:30 p.m. (moonrise is at 21:06 p.m.)
Whole partial lunar eclipse visible above the horizon late on July 16, 2019
Marrakech, Morocco: 22:30 p.m.
Lagos, Nigeria: 22:30 p.m.
Windhoek, Namibia: 23:30 p.m.
Cape Town, South Africa: 23:30 p.m.
Cairo, Egypt: 23:30 p.m.
Madrid, Spain: 23:30 p.m.
Paris, France: 23:30 p.m.
Berlin, Germany: 23:30 p.m.
Rome, Italy: 23:30 p.m.
Whole partial lunar eclipse visible above the horizon in the early hours of July 17, 2019
Moscow, Russia: 00:30 a.m.
Tel Aviv, Israel: 00:30 a.m.
Istanbul, Turkey: 00:30 a.m.
Islamabad, Pakistan: 02:30 a.m.
New Delhi, India: 03:00 a.m.
Bangkok, Thailand: 04:30 a.m.
Perth, Western Australia: 05:30 a.m.
A partially eclipsed moon will set in the west early on July 17, 2019
Seoul, South Korea: 05:20 a.m. (moonset at 05:23 a.m.)
Beijing, China: 04:55 a.m. (moonset at 05:00 a.m.)
Hong Kong: 05:30 a.m. (moonset at 05:51 a.m.)
Sydney, Australia: 06:55 a.m. (moonset at 07:02 a.m.)
Queenstown, New Zealand: 08:20 a.m. (moonset at 08:23 a.m.)
Wishing you wide eyes and clear skies