Total Lunar Eclipse February 2008
21 February 2008 represents the last chance to witness a total lunar eclipse anywhere on the planet until December 2010. The eclipse is visible across a large portion of Western Europe, as well as parts of Africa, the whole of South America and the majority of North America.
The northern edge of the Moon will pass much deeper into the Earth's shadow than the southern edge and it is likely, therefore, that there will be considerable variation in shadow brightness across the lunar surface. Keen amateurs, alongside professional astronomers, are encouraged to make estimates of the Moon's brightness every 10 minutes throughout totality using the Danjon scale.
The amount of dust and sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere also influences the diameter of the umbral shadow. By timing when craters pass in and out of eclipse it is possible to determine the enlargement of the Earth's shadow.
A team of observers from South America and Western Europe have put together a field guide for observing the eclipse. The main author of the guide is experienced lunar explorer Alberto Martos. He worked in the Madrid ground control of the Apollo missions (XIV-XVII) and worked at ESAC in mission control of different ESA missions (IUE, ISO and XMM) until his retirement last year.
An observation campaign has been planned using simultaneous observations from Europe and South-America. As a result it is hoped:
Complementary activities are: