Skywatching lunar events for SA in 2020

Posted by Imogen Searra on 2 January 2020

South African skies will be bursting with visible lunar events this year. Mark these dates off in your calendar so you don’t miss out on these celestial spectacles.

Penumbral lunar eclipse: 10 January 2020

According to Date and Time, during a penumbral lunar eclipse, Earth’s shadow (umbra) does not cover the moon. The shadowed part is somewhat fainter than the rest of the moon during this event, making it a bit tricky to see. During a penumbral lunar eclipse there are no other places on Earth where moon appear partially for fully eclipsed. Keep an eye on the weather on this day, which may play a role in visibility of the moon.

Other penumbral lunar eclipses will take place on 5 June 2020 and again on 5 July 2020.

Super full moon: 9 March 2020

A super full moon takes place when the moon is at its closest to Earth. The moon appears noticeably bigger and brighter, due to it being so close. This point is called perigee. Read: Super blood wolf moon eclipse

There will be a super full moon again on 8 April 2020.


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#superfullmoon #milkyway #repost celebrating the last full moon of the decade ✌🏻🍀

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Micro new moon: 24 March 2020

A micro moon, minimoon, or mini new moon is when a new moon is close to the furtherest place point from Earth. This point is called apogee.

A micro full moon will occur on 1 October 2020, where the full moon will appear smaller and less bright. This will take place again on 31 October 2020.

Black moon: 19 August (third new moon in a season with four new moons)

Black moons can be the second new moon in a single month, third new moon in a season of four new moons, no new moon in February or no full moon in February. This black moon however is the third new moon in a season with four moons.

This phenomena is quite rare and occurs about every 33 months. Each season has three months with three new moons. When a season has a fourth new moon, the third new moon is called the black moon.

Super new moon: 16 October 2020

Similar to the super full moon, a super new moon occurs when the new moon is on the closest point to the Earth.

A super new moon will occur again on 15 November 2020



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Super New Moon #newmoon #supernewmoon #arizonamoon

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Blue moon: 31 October 2020 (Second full moon in singular calendar month)

This rare lunar event has two instances. The first is the seasonal blue moon, which is the third full moon in an astronomical season with four full moons. The second instance, is when there are two full moons in a month, where the second full moon is the blue moon. The latter is the event taking place this year.


Image: Unsplash

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