Lunar eclipse serves as prelude to much-anticipated solar eclipse

By Brooks Hays  |  Aug. 8, 2017 at 10:02 AM
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Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Skywatchers in the Eastern Hemisphere witnessed a partial lunar eclipse on Monday night, a prelude to the much-anticipated total solar eclipse that will cast a shadow across the Western Hemisphere in two weeks.

Monday's eclipse was visible across much of Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Pacific. People living on the east coast of Brazil could also see the eclipse.

The eclipse was broadcast live on Slooh, a site that offers online access to a variety of telescopes. Slooh will offer live coverage of the forthcoming solar eclipse as well.

A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth casts a shadow on the moon -- or more accurately, when the moon moves across Earth's shadow, or umbra. The phenomenon can only occur when the Earth, moon and sun are in direct alignment.

"Every total solar eclipse brings with it a lunar eclipse either two weeks before or after," Slooh astronomer Paul Cox said in a statement. "While it may not be as dramatic, it's a wonderful opportunity to build understanding of eclipses, in anticipation of the big one to follow."

On Monday, August 21, the roles of the moon and Earth will be reversed, as the moon casts a shadow across Earth. The moon's orbital will trace the sun's apparent path from south to north.

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