Big Lunar Eclipse

Saturday, June 26th, there’s going to be a lunar eclipse — and for many residents of the USA, it’s going to be a big one. The eclipse begins at 3:17 a.m. PDT when the moon enters the sunset-colored shadow of Earth. By 4:38 a.m. PDT, the moment of greatest eclipse, 54 percent of the moon’s diameter will be covered. From beginning to end, the event lasts almost three hours.

Although the eclipse is only partial, it will be magnified in size and charm by the “Moon Illusion” — a result of the eclipse occurring close to the horizon from viewing sites in the USA. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects. In fact, a low moon is no wider than any other moon — cameras prove it — but the human brain insists otherwise. The effect will be particularly strong in western and central parts of the USA and Canada where the moon will be setting as the eclipse reaches maximum.