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Just over two weeks after its dark silhouette crossed in front of the Sun for parts of the Pacific and the Americas, it is the Moon’s turn to undergo an eclipse.
Early on Sunday morning, April 24, the Moon will quietly slip into the Earth’s outer shadow, known as the penumbra. While a penumbral eclipse is less dramatic than partial or total eclipses, avid skywatchers will be setting their alarm clocks early.
North and South America are in the best position to see this event.
In a penumbral eclipse, no part of the Moon enters the dark umbral shadow of the Earth, so no part of the Moon shows the distinct outline of the Earth's shadow. Since it will pass through the outer extremities of the Earth’s shadow, this is a pale eclipse that will do little to moderate the Moon’s light. That part of the Moon closest to the much darker shadow of the Earth (called the umbra) may exhibit a sensible darkening, but it might not catch the eye.
The penumbral shadow is usually faint and difficult to perceive unless at least two-thirds of the Moon’s disk is immersed within it. Also, one edge of the Moon should closely approach the much darker umbral shadow.
If seen from the Moon, the Earth would appear to partly eclipse the Sun.