Physics Photo of the Week

August 31, 2007

Lunar Eclipse - August 28, 2007 - Photos by Chelsea Maier

5:20 am EDT
5:28 am EDT
5:45 am EDT

In the predawn hours of August 28, 2007, the Moon entered Earth's shadow and became totally eclipsed.  These photos show the progress as the Moon became more and more immersed into Earth's shadow.

The weather, unfortunately, precluded obtaining the total eclipse.  The morning fog became thicker and the moon dipped closer to the horizon.  The progressive darkness of the remaining illuminated part of the Moon is due to increased fog, not a less bright Moon.

The last Lunar eclipse was March 3, 2007.  This was highly successful as shown on the PPOW for March 9, 2007.

The picture below illustrates the physical alignment between the Sun, Earth, and Moon during a total lunar eclipse.  The Moon is positioned in Earth's shadow.  This drawing is not to scale.

Eclipses are relatively rare.  This is due to the fact that the Moon's orbital plane is tilted about 5 degrees from the Earth's orbital plane.  As a consequence, most full moons miss the Earth's shadow - passing either above the Earth's shadow or below it.  The next eclipse visible from Warren Wilson College will occur on February 7, 2008.

Physics Photo of the Week is published weekly during the academic year on Fridays by the Warren Wilson College Physics Department.  These photos feature an interesting phenomena in the world around us.  Students, faculty, and others are invited to submit digital (or film) photographs for publication and explanation.  Atmospheric phenomena are especially welcome.  Please send any photos to

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