In just 14 days, 9 hours, 48 minutes and 55 seconds, the next Total Lunar Eclipse will take place, and with ringside seats on top of Africa’s highest mountain, we cannot wait to witness this rare phenomenon from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro on 28th September 2015.
Our private Kilimanjaro expedition has been perfectly timed to ensure we summit on the night of the total lunar eclipse, and if everything goes to plan, we should see the full spectacle, which (according to timeanddate.com) is scheduled to start at 03:11 (Tanzanian time), reach full coverage at 05:47, and end at 08:22, by which time we should be making our way back down to Barafu Camp for a well-deserved brunch!
The Total Lunar Eclipse, sometimes called the Red Moon or Blood Moon, happens when the Earth, the Sun and the Moon become perfectly aligned to form a straight line. With the Sun lined up directly behind the Earth, the Moon cannot reflect the sun’s rays, and the Earth’s shadow is cast over the Moon causing it to have a reddish glow.
The 7 stages of the Total Lunar Eclipse include:
- Penumbral Eclipse: The start of the process, this is when the penumbral part of Earth’s shadow starts moving over the Moon.
- Partial Eclipse: By stage 2, the eclipse becomes more visible to the naked eye as the Earth’s umbra starts covering the Moon
- Total Eclipse Begins: As the total eclipse begins, the Earth’s umbra completely covers the Moon to give it its reddish glow.
- Maximum Eclipse: At this stage, the Moon is completely covered by the Earth’s shadow.
- Total Eclipse Ends: Now, the Earth’s umbra starts to move away from the Moon.
- Partial Eclipse Ends: In this penultimate stage, the Earth’s umbra leaves the Moon’s surface so that it is able to reflect some of the sun’s rays.
- Penumbral Eclipse Ends: Finally, the Earth’s shadow moves away from the Moon completely, leaving the man in the moon smiling down on us!
Whether you are a fan of astronomy or not, this spectacular event is something everyone should witness in their lifetime, and as it only happens once every 2 or 3 years, it makes perfect sense to do it sooner rather than later!
We will be watching the seven stages of the Total Lunar Eclipse with a group of like-minded travellers on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro this September – where will you be watching it?