The next performance of light and shadow by the Earth-Moon-Sun trio takes place Wednesday morning when the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon creating a "penumbral lunar eclipse."
In a penumbral lunar eclipse, the moon falls under the dim edge, or penumbra, of the Earth's shadow, instead of the main part of the shadow called the umbra. As a result, the moon's face grows a bit dimmer instead of showing a clearly defined disc moving across it as can be seen in a regular lunar eclipse.
The eclipse will peak around 6:33 a.m. Pacific time, and should be detectable between 6-7 a.m., according to NASA. This assumes that fog or clouds are not blocking the view of the moon at the time.
"It should be easily visible to the naked eye as a dusky shading in the northern half of the Moon," says the NASA website.
The penumbral lunar eclipse is slated as the last of four eclipses in 2012. Other eclipses for the year were:
The eclipse will not be visible from the Eastern seaboard of the United States since it will occur after moonset there.