As it happened: Celestial treat with 2016's last lunar eclipse

Observers treated to a penumbral lunar eclipse as the Sun, Earth and Moon align in almost perfect line on Friday night — for the last time this 2016

  • A penumbral lunar eclipse.Image Credit: AFP
  • This year's last lunar eclipse in progress on Friday night, as seen from Dubai.Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: As the Sun, Earth and Moon align in almost perfect line on Friday night, observers here were treated to 2016's last lunar eclipse.

The eclipse sparted at around 8.55 pm (Dubai time), when the Earth's penumbra started touching the Moon's face. It lasted for nearly four hours.

A penumbral lunar eclipse is a subtle dark shadow on the moon. It is the last of three lunar eclipses in 2016.

The moment of maximum eclipse was about 10.55pm Dubai time (18:55 UTC on September 16) at an altitude of 55.2 degrees, when the Moon is closest to the centre

This is 1.9 days before the Moon reaches perigee and the Moon will be in the constellation Pisces.

Hassan Ahmad Al Hariri, CEO of Dubai Astronomy Group, explained to Gulf News: “The reason why this happens is because moon is orbiting the Earth and as it does, the three — Sun, Moon and Earth — at certain times form a geometrical alignment. This penumbral eclipse is something beautiful to see. The moonlight will appear to be a little bit dim.” 

“It will not be easy for people to notice it, because the dimming will not be that much, unless you watch it from the beginning at around 8.54pm (Friday, September 16) until the end at around 12.53am (Saturday)."

Penumbral lunar eclipse

A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth's partial shadow, or penumbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will darken slightly but not completely.

This penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible throughout most of eastern Europe, eastern Africa, Asia, western Australia and the western Pacific Ocean.

Fred Espenak, NASA's expert for eclipses, said the Friday event this is a "very deep" penumbral eclipse. It has a penumbral eclipse magnitude of 0.9080 and a penumbral eclipse duration of 239.4 minutes. 

The Dubai Astronomy Group  observed the eclipse at  the Mushrif Park in Dubai from 7pm (Friday) to 1am (Saturday).