Most of the US will be treated to a partial lunar eclipse in the pre-dawn hours of Monday, June 4. For those of us in northeast Iowa it begins around 5:00 AM CDT. At it’s peak, about 40% of the Moon will be in the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, but the Moon will set for us before that occurs. Those further to the west will get a better show before the Moon sets. Also our current forecast is unfortunately calling for cloudy skies.
You may recall we had an annular solar eclipse on May 20 during new Moon. It’s not a coincidence that we have at least a partial lunar eclipse during the upcoming full Moon. Since the orbit of the Moon is tilted with respect to the plane of the Solar System lunar and solar eclipses are generally only possible a couple times per year when the Earth, Moon and Sun line up. Since the Moon orbits Earth relatively quickly the alignment often holds for a few weeks and lunar and solar eclipses generally occur in pairs as we are seeing currently.