ST. GEORGE – Southern Utah stargazers can enjoy a lunar eclipse on Monday and a rare sighting of the Transit of Venus on Tuesday.
Unlike last month’s solar eclipse, where the moon passed in front of the sun, creating the “ring of fire” effect, during this lunar eclipse the moon will pass directly behind Earth. A large portion of the moon will fall into Earth’s shadow, creating a partial eclipse.
The moon will pass directly behind our planet at 4 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Observers in St. George can enjoy the maximum eclipse will at 5:04 a.m.
The eclipse will be visible in North America, South America, Australia, the eastern parts of Asia and across the entire Pacific Ocean. In addition, the moon will appear larger to viewers east of the Mississippi River.
Some Native American cultures traditionally call June’s full moon the “strawberry moon” because strawberry harvesting season is in June.
Transit of Venus
Viewers in St. George can also enjoy the rare Transit of Venus on Tuesday. Venus will briefly pass between Earth and the sun, making Venus briefly visible to those on Earth.
NASA calls this Transit of Venus a “once in a lifetime event.” The next Transit of Venus will be in 2117.
The Transit of Venus will begin at 3:06 p.m. Tuesday and continue until 9:48 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Venus will be most visible to viewers in Washington County at 6:27 p.m.
Readers can learn more about the Transit of Venus at NASA’s Transit of Venus website.
Safe solar viewing
Observing the Transit of Venus is dangerous to the naked eye. According to NASA, it’s important to follow solar viewing procedures while enjoying these astronomical events. Sunglasses are not adequate eye protection for viewing the Transit of Venus!
To help ensure eye safety during the Transit of Venus, Southwest Vision will have solar viewing glasses available for $2 each on Monday and Tuesday. Southwest Vision is located at 965 East 700 South, Suite 100, St. George. See our article from last month’s annular eclipse: Solar viewing glasses; dates with sun eclipse your vision.