This year’s mid-autumn full moon will coincide with a rare lunar eclipse – but it might not be visible because of the effects of Severe Typhoon Meranti, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is on Thursday, but stay awake on Saturday for your annual moon-gazing as the full moon will occur at 3.05am.
The lunar eclipse, called a penumbral lunar eclipse, will occur around the time of the mid-autumn full moon. The astronomical event, which has only occurred once in the past 20 years, will last for four hours and three minutes.
Hong Kong Joint School Astronomical Society honorary adviser Phil Lee told Young Post that the moon will not dim noticeably because it will only pass through the Earth’s penumbra (its partial shadow), not its umbra (its total shadow).
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The moon enters the penumbra at 0.53am on Saturday and will leave at 4.56am. The maximum eclipse will take place at 2.54am.
“With the naked eye, it’s not easy to notice the difference of the moonlight because the moon will only slightly dimmer. You will need binoculars for a better view if the weather permits,” says Lee.
Senior Scientific Officer for the Observatory, Cheng Yuen-chung, told Young Post that the weather on Thursday will be mainly cloudy with frequent squalls and showers.
“Meranti will come within 400km of the city on Thursday. The weather will then slightly improve after it leaves the Hong Kong area and moves northwards on Friday. Although it’ll still be cloudy with a few showers, there’ll be chances to see the penumbral lunar eclipse on Saturday,” he says.
The next lunar eclipse of the mid-autumn full moon will be a partial lunar eclipse on September 29, 2042.