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Last penumbral lunar eclipse of the decade to dim Friday night's full moon

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The first eclipse of the year will be visible across much of the United States on Friday night as the moon passes through part of the Earth’s shadow.

A penumbral lunar eclipse will make Friday night’s full moon appear dimmer than normal in what will be the last penumbral lunar eclipse of the decade.

However, cloudy conditions may prevent those across the northeastern and western United States from witnessing the eclipse.

Penumbral viewing conditions

A penumbral lunar eclipse is not as noticeable as a partial or total lunar eclipse since the moon passes through only the outermost part of the Earth’s shadow. As a result, spectators can detect some shading on a corner of the moon.

“About one-third of all lunar eclipses are penumbral lunar eclipses with this one being the last one until 2020,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.

Those across the United States planning to view the eclipse should look at the moon shortly after it rises with the peak of the eclipse occurring at 7:43 p.m. EST Friday.

For those along the West Coast, the peak of the eclipse will occur before the moon rises; however, it should still be visible once the moon climbs above the horizon.

Penumbral lunar eclipse

The moon during a penumbral lunar eclipse. (Facebook photo/Dana W.)

No special equipment is needed to see Friday night’s eclipse, although it will be easier to notice with a pair of binoculars or a telescope.

Even to the unaided eye, the top left corner of the moon should appear dimmer than the bottom right.

“Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is visible across a large part of the globe,” Samuhel said.

Friday night's eclipse will also be visible across Europe, Africa, South America and parts of Asia.

Lunar eclipses can only happen when there is a full moon. Friday night's full moon is also called the "Full Snow Moon," according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.

The next eclipse will take place later this month as the moon passes directly between the Earth and sun. This solar eclipse, taking place on Sunday, Feb. 26, will only be visible across a small portion of South America and Africa.