On the night of February 20/21, 2008, viewers on the night side of the Earth will observe a total lunar eclipse, which occurs when the moon passes directly behind the Earth, and enters its shadow. Observers in the Americas, Europe, and Africa will be posed for the best views.
The following table represents the predicted timetable for the lunar eclipse, as provided by Curt Renz, whose helpful astronomy website can be found at www.curtrenz.com/astronomical.html.
00:37 UT – Moon enters penumbra (gray fringe shadow)
01:43 UT – Moon enters umbra (dark inner shadow)
02:18 UT – 50% of Moon’s diameter covered by umbra
03:01 UT – Totality begins (magnitude 1.000)
03:26 UT – Maximum eclipse (magnitude 1.105)
03:51 UT – Totality ends (magnitude 1.000)
04:34 UT – 50% of Moon’s diameter covered by umbra (magnitude 0.500)
05:09 UT – Moon exits umbra (dark inner shadow)
06:16 UT – Moon exits penumbra (gray fringe shadow)
The times given in this table are Universal Time (UT), also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), for the night of the 20/21. Therefore, these times are mostly in the very early morning of the 21st, just after midnight UT. To find your corresponding local time, subtract your time zone's offset from this number. So for example, Eastern time is GMT-5, so I would subtract 5 hours from each of the times listed here, so 00:37 UT becomes 7:37 PM EST. Central time is GMT-6, Mountain time is GMT-7, and Pacific time is GMT-8. Other time zone offsets are available here.
The moon will actually appear to turn a blood red color during maximum eclipse. This is an optical effect due to the refraction of sunlight by the Earth's atmosphere. Red light is bent most readily and is projected upon the face of the moon. Also notice Saturn's close proximity to the moon during the eclipse. I'll be setting up a composite shot of the eclipse with Youngstown's skyline, assuming skies are clear. This, however, is a slim chance in Northeast Ohio...
This is the last total lunar eclipse until two total eclipses on December 21, 2010, and June 15, 2011, so don't miss it!
Clear skies! (hopefully)...
EDIT: A composite image of the eclipse that I made from Youngstown, Ohio is available here.
Eclipse timetable courtesy of Curt Renz.