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Partial lunar eclipse: Earth to obscure full moon Monday morning

June 4, 2012 |  1:55 am

A partial lunar eclipse will occur before sunrise and be viewable from California and the Western Hemisphere
A partial lunar eclipse will occur before sunrise Monday and be viewable from California and the Western Hemisphere; it will also be viewable Monday evening in eastern Asia and Australia.

The partial eclipse of the moon will begin at 3 a.m. PDT, reach its peak at 4:04 a.m., and end just after 5:06 a.m., according to calculations by NASA.

The East Coast will see the eclipse at the same time -- it begins at 6 a.m. EDT, peaks at 7:04 a.m., and ends at 8:06 a.m. New England, however, will miss the show, which will occur after moonset there.

A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the moon, which reflects sunlight onto the Earth at night, travels into the path of the Earth’s shadow.

Weather permitting, the view of the current eclipse is expected to be particularly exquisite on the East Coast, where it will be happening just as the moon sets in the west. It will be low on the horizon, creating the illusion of a very large moon, according to NASA.

"The eclipsed moon, hanging low in the west at daybreak on June 4th, will seem extra-large to U.S. observers east of the Mississippi,” a NASA video said (see video below).

As a result of the eclipse, the Earth's shadow will take a 37% bite out of the full moon, according to the space agency.

NASA says the June full moon is a "strawberry moon," a Native American name for the moon during the short strawberry harvesting season.

Unfortunately for much of Southern California, low clouds will ruin the view almost everywhere Monday morning, except for the Interstate 5/Grapevine corridor, the Santa Clarita Valley, Frazier Park, the mountains -- such as Mt. Wilson -- and the desert, said Dave Bruno, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Oxnard.


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-- Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: A lunar eclipse over the Griffith Observatory in 2008. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times