This Wednesday will be a busy day for astronomers and stargazers.
Early risers on March 23 in areas of North America, Asia, and the Pacific Ocean will be treated to a penumbral lunar eclipse. By pure coincidence, the week’s sky will also be graced with an exceptionally bright Jupiter next to the Moon.
Jupiter will shine with a magnitude of -2.5. To put that in perspective, as Science Alert explains, the Sun has an apparent magnitude of -27, Venus has a magnitude of -5 and Sirius, the night sky’s brightest visible star, measures at -1.5.
If you have a telescope with a relatively high magnification at hand, it will be a great opportunity to see Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. This red blip on Jupiter’s surface is a gigantic storm, around two times as wide as Earth. As if that wasn’t enough, it will be possible to also see Jupiter’s four moons.
The minor lunar eclipse will happen on Wednesday, March 23, and should be visible for around 4 hours and 15 minutes. According to Space.com, it will be most visible at around 7.47 a.m. EDT (11.47 a.m. GMT). During that time, you’ll be able to see Earth's fuzzy shadow creeping onto the southern half of the Moon. Unfortunately, the celestial event won’t be visible from Europe or Africa. However, Jupiter should appear beaming brightly from most of the world’s view.
You can read more about Wednesday’s penumbral lunar eclipse here.