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Total lunar eclipse on July 27

Erklärung Mondfinsternis

When the moon goes out

On July 27th we experience the longest total lunar eclipse of this century. And with about 1 ¾ hours, it is not only particularly long, but can also be seen very well in our latitudes: When the moon rises at 8.48 pm, the entry into the shadow of the earth has already begun. The eclipse does not take place in the middle of the night, but in the late evening and can therefore also be observed well by families.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon's orbit is completely covered by the Earth's shadow. If the sunlight still partially reaches the moon directly, i.e. the earth satellite lies in the so-called penumbra, one speaks of a partial lunar eclipse.

Red moon rising

Phases of eclipse

The moon will glow red in this darkness. The reason: long-wave (red) stray light is directed from the Earth's atmosphere into the shadow cone. If the moon disk now completely dips into the earth's shadow, this red scattered light "colors" the full moon. So the moon is dipped into the earthly sunset.

The natural spectacle begins (in Munich and the surrounding area) at 7.15 p.m. with the entry of the moon into the penumbra of the earth, i.e. a partial eclipse that will increase continuously. Around 9 p.m. the sun will have set. At 9.30 pm the "totality" of the lunar eclipse begins, at 10.23 pm it reaches its maximum value and climax. The "totality" of the lunar eclipse lasts for about 50 minutes. At 00.19 o'clock the moon has left the shadow of the earth, at 01.29 o'clock finally also the penumbra.

Another special feature of this lunar eclipse: A few minutes after the beginning of totality, Mars rises just below the eclipsed moon. It will look like a particularly bright star. During the totality phase, the stars around the eclipsed moon that were previously overshadowed by the moonlight, such as the constellations Capricorn, Aquarius and Eagle, become visible again.

In Munich, the Deutsches Museum and the Volkshochschule, among others, offer numerous events around the lunar eclipse. The program can be found pdf-Datei here (2,35 MB) (in German).

Exploring the vastness of space with the latest Technology

The lunar eclipse can be observed particularly well with a telescope. For centuries, this instrument has been under constant development. The optical telescope, at the latest since the times of Galileio Galilei the main tool of all astronomers, has long been supported by infrared and ultraviolet telescopes. Today, telescope technology also includes radio, X-ray and gamma astronomy.

Whether man in the moon, Marsians or goddesses on Venus - thanks to modern telescopes, our planetary neighbourhood is under constant observation. But the view of science should go much further into the vastness of space.

The largest telescope project is the "Extremely Large Telescope" of the European Southern Observatory ESO in the Atacama Desert in Chile. It is scheduled to go into operation in 2024 and will be the world's largest optical telescope with a diameter of 39 meters. With the current "Very large telescope" of the ESO, carbon monoxide molecules could already be analyzed in a galaxy at a distance of about eleven billion light years.

A glance at the DEPATISnet patent database of the DPMA shows that numerous new developments are still being filed in the field of telescopes. Examples of recent developments include "Antenna or telescope for terahertz radiation" ( pdf-Datei DE102015215336A1), "Space telescope with high stability and low inertia" ( pdf-Datei EP2202553B3) or "Compact telescope with a variety of focal lengths compensated by a deformable mirror" ( pdf-Datei EP3336595A1 (1,61 MB)). In China in particular, many technical innovations are currently being registered for telescopes, such as the "Radio astronomical telescope system"( pdf-Datei CN107732462A).

Bilder: Marco Sproviero /

Last updated: 26/03/19 


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