This Friday will see a total lunar eclipse, but stargazers in the county are set to be disappointed if they want to see the whole thing.
The eclipse will begin just as the Moon is setting across Cumbria and the UK, so watchers of the skies won’t get to see the sight of the Moon’s silvery-white disc turning a strange, coppery hue as it moves into and through the Earth’s shadow.
What they will see though is the top of the Moon looking darker as it falls towards and then drops behind the western horizon just before sunrise.
To have any hope of seeing this eclipse, people are being advised to look to the west from 6am, and you’ll need a low and flat horizon in that direction. The Moon will already be so close to setting at the start of the eclipse that if you have any trees, buildings or hills on your western skyline they will hide it from view.
But if you can see it, you’ll notice that the Moon looks a little darker, because it will be passing through the outer part of the Earth’s shadow.
At 7.20am the Moon will begin to move into the darker, inner part of the Earth’s shadow and you’ll see a darker area at the top of the disc. As the minutes pass this darker area will grow larger, but the Moon will get lower in the sky too.
By 7.30am the top quarter of the Moon’s disc will be darkened, and by 7.45am almost a third of the Moon will be in shadow, but by then the Moon will be very close to setting so it might be difficult to see through all the haze that hangs above the horizon.
Although difficult eclipse to see, lunar eclipses such as this one are rare, and the pink and grey Moon can look very eerie and beautiful as it falls slowly towards the horizon.