A penumbral lunar eclipse is set to occur Wednesday morning as a full moon will pass through the outer edge of the Earth’s shadow.
The entire eclipse will be visible from East Asia, Australia, Hawaii and Alaska and begins at 7:15 a.m. EST (4:15 a.m. PST, 1200 GMT). From start to finish, it will last just under five hours.
While some might be confused by the word “penumbral,” unlike a total lunar eclipse, which occurs when the earth passes behind the dark center of the moon's shadow, a penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the hazy outer edge of the earth's shadow, called the penumbra.
During a penumbral eclipse, the moon doesn't black out completely; instead, it appears to darken subtly, but noticeably, if one pays close attention.
Experts estimate that residents on the West Coast have a pretty good chance of catching the lunar eclipse -- that is, if they happen to be out of bed between 4:15 a.m. PST when it begins, and 6:15 a.m., when the eclipse peaks. During its peak hour, the biggest portion of the moon will be eclipsed by the Earth's penumbra.
If you are not on the West Coast, or if you can't find the moon because it is too cloudy, or if you just don't want to go outside at that time of the morning, you can always watch this subtle lunar eclipse online.
SPACE.com will live stream the lunar eclipse via the Slooh Space Camera.
For those on the West Coast who can see the eclipse and want to use a camera to capture it, you’ll need to use basically the same camera gear and technique as when shooting an un-eclipsed full moon.
According to SPACE.com, shooting the eclipse will require a telescope or telephoto lens with a focal length of 500 millimeters or more. This will ensure that you will capture details on the moon's surface such as its dark markings (called the "maria") as well as the bright, rayed impact craters.
In addition, experts suggest that the best way to get steady shots of the lunar eclipse is to mount your photo gear on a tripod that is big enough to support the weight of your setup.
To reduce camera shake, don’t push the shutter button with your finger. Try to operate it using a long electronic cable release, or use the camera’s delay timer. The mirror slap in digital SLR cameras can also blur images, especially at slow shutter speeds.