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Lunar eclipse comes Sunday night, though it can be hard to see



The celestial bodies are adjusting to a show this weekend, though clouds over Portland may be blocking it from view.

A half-shadow lunar eclipse takes place late Sunday night Monday morning, November 29-30, according to NASA, which gradually darkens the moon’s face for more than four hours. It will be the second lunar eclipse visible in Oregon this year, following an earlier semi-eclipse in July.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth̵

7;s shadow falls over the moon, and it can only occur at full moon when then the sun, earth, and moon are all in line. A semi-eclipse is much more subtle than a total or even partial eclipse, as only the lighter outer shadow of the earth (called the peninsula) darkens the moon.

During a half-shadow lunar eclipse, the moon gradually becomes slightly darker until the maximum eclipse, after which it gradually lights up again. Unlike during a total or partial eclipse, the moon’s face does not become completely dark, and some people may not notice a difference at all.

The eclipse is expected to begin on Sunday at 23:32 and now the maximum eclipse at. 1:42 Saturday and ends at. 03:53 according to timeanddate.com.

Whether we can actually see it in the Portland area depends on the cloud cover. While the sky should be clear Sunday during the day, clouds are expected to roll in overnight, the National Weather Service has predicted.

Two more lunar eclipses will be visible in the Northwest Pacific over the next year. A total lunar eclipse is scheduled to take place on the morning of May 26, 2021, and a partial lunar eclipse from November 18 to 19, 2021 will be visible throughout America.

A solar eclipse always occurs about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse, said Jim Todd, director of space science education at OMSI, but this time most of the world will miss: The next total solar eclipse will be December 14, visible only from Chile and some parts of Argentina. Some regions of South America, southwestern Africa and Antarctica may see a partial solar eclipse.

Pacific Northwest will not see another solar eclipse until the annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023 and the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

–Jamie Hale; jhale@oregonian.com; 503-294-4077; @HaleJamesB




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