The final penumbral lunar eclipse of 2013 will take place tonight, October 18 and is expected to reach its deepest point at 7:50 p.m. ET, when the moon will appear redder and dimmer than usual.
A penumbral lunar eclipse is when the Sun and Earth align in such a way that the Earth's shadow or penumbra falls only partially on the moon. Unlike a complete lunar eclipse where the Earth's penumbra covers the moon completely, penumbral lunar eclipse involves only slight dimming of the moon's light.
Skygazers from Europe, Africa, the Americas and parts of Asia will be able to see the eclipse, which will be visible for several hours. According to a PlanetSave report, the penumbral lunar eclipse is expected to take place between 6:00 p.m. ET and 10:00 p.m. ET, reaching its deepest point at 7:50 p.m. ET.
During a penumbral lunar eclipse, the moon appears redder and darker because its light is filtered by the Earth's atmosphere, eliminating most of the satellite's "blue light."
"On the evening of Friday, October 18th, the full Moon will glide across the pale outer fringe (penumbra) of Earth's shadow," Alan MacRobert wrote in the Sky and Telescope magazine. "Unusual shading on the southern half of the Moon should be fairly plain. Look for the penumbral shadow to move from (celestial) east to west across the disc. You might be able to detect lesser traces of penumbral shading for about 45 minutes before and after mid-eclipse."
The farther east and north you are located, the better your chances of seeing this eclipse, reports Discovery.com.
Another lunar eclipse will take place in the later part of the week in case viewers miss the Friday lunar eclipse while the next total lunar eclipse will take place on April 14, 2014.
The online Slooh Space Camera will host a webcast Friday featuring live views of the moon as it dips into the Earth's outer shadow. The webcast will begin at 2:45 p.m. ET and will run for the entirety of the eclipse.