Friday, December 9, 2011

10 December eclipse fundamentals

A total eclipse of the Moon when actually viewed from the Moon is, quite naturally, a total eclipse of the Sun, as was demonstrated in these sequential HDTV stills captured from Japan's lunar orbiter Kaguya in 2009 [JAXA/NHK/SELENE].

The LRO Diviner instrument will, once
again, map surface temperature changes
during the lunar eclipse, Dec. 10. [NASA/
Orbiting 50 kilometers above the lunar surface, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will have a "front-row seat" for observing the total lunar eclipse, December 10.

LRO's Diviner instrument will record how quickly targeted areas on the moon's day side cool off during the eclipse. The degree of cooling is dependent on factors such as how rocky the surface is, how densely packed the soil is, and its mineral composition. By studying the lunar surface during the eclipse, scientists can learn even more about our nearest celestial neighbor.

To review results of Diviner measurements made during the total eclipse last June 15, read the report HERE.

From beginning to end, the eclipse will last from 11:33 to 17:30 UT . Totality will last 51 minutes (14:06:16 - 14:57:24 UT). NASA schematic of the fundamentals of this eclipse (pdf file) HERE.

An Eclipse of the Sun from the Moon is an Eclipse of the Moon from the Earth.
The 10 December 2010 Total Eclipse of the Moon at its darkest was both before and after Totality, when sunlight refracted from the bright annulus of Earth's atmosphere lights up the nearside in deep orange-reds. More than 18,000 persons had already viewed this picture taken by ISS veteran astronaut Soichi Noguchi from Japan within 17 minutes after he posted the image on Twitter.

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