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WEATHER

Where to watch the lunar eclipse in Germany on Tuesday night

On Tuesday night - the 50th anniversary of the start of Apollo 11’s historic moon landing mission - a partial lunar eclipse will be visible in parts of Germany.

Where to watch the lunar eclipse in Germany on Tuesday night
A solar elipse viewed in Brandenburg in 2015. Photo: DPA

The moon will pass behind the earth and into its shadow on Tuesday night, appearing to be a rusty red colour against the sky.

In Germany the spectacle is most likely to be admired in the south, though there is a possibility it will be seen around the country depending on tonight's weather conditions, say meteorologists.

The cosmic show is slated to start shortly after 10pm, when the moon will have its first contact with the umbra, or complete shadow, of the earth. 

At the height of the cosmic spectacle, at around 11:30pm, nearly two thirds of the moon are covered by the earth's shadow.

Onlookers in the south of Germany will have the best shot of catching the lit-up lunar show. 

“The chances are greatest south of the Main [river],” Tobias Reinartz of the German Weather Service (DWD) told Spiegel Online. 

Lucky lunar chances

The cloud distribution over Germany is currently divided in two, the meteorologist said. This will also be the case on Tuesday night, when there will be dense clouds over the north of the country. 

With luck, however, the cloud cover could also break open to the northeast and allow a view of the moon.

There can only be a lunar eclipse on a full moon, when the moon, earth and sun stand in a straight line.

“The earth illuminated by the sun casts a shadow into space like a sunshade”, explained the Association of Friends of the Stars (Vereinigung der Sternenfreunde) in Heppenheim, Hesse. 

This will be the last solar eclipse of any sort clearly visible in Central Europe until May 16th, 2022, according to the association. The next total eclipse visible in Germany will occur on September 7th, 2025.

According to the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the striking colour of the moon is due to the fact that red light from the sun's rays is refracted in the Earth's atmosphere and directed towards the moon. 

In addition, dust and ash in the upper atmosphere will intensify the colouring. According to DLR, the International Space Station ISS will also be visible above the partially eclipsed moon as a bright point of light in the sky.

A historic anniversary

The partial lunar eclipse is not the only reason that the moon is receiving so much hype in the German and international press. 

In the early morning hours of July 21st, 1968, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon.

They were followed by 10 more NASA spacemen. Since December 1972 there have been no more people on the moon. But the US government has plans for a return by 2024.

Vocabulary

Lunar Eclipse – (die) Mondfinsternis 

Umbra/complete shadow – (der) Kernschatten

Upper atmosphere – (die) Hochatmosphäre

Earth’s moon – (der) Erdtrabant or (Der) Mond

Sun shade/sun umbrella – (der) Sonnenschirm

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WEATHER

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

A stranded cargo ship caused traffic to be halted Wednesday at the Rhine river in western Germany after suffering a technical fault, authorities said, at a time when water transport was already ailing from a drought.

Damaged freighter blocks traffic at drought-hit Rhine

The vessel is stuck at St. Goar and Oberwesel, in between the cities of Mainz and Koblenz, water police said, adding that they were expecting to clear the stricken ship within the day.

The machine damage came as water levels in the Rhine had dropped to critical points at several locations, including at nearby Kaub — a known bottleneck for shipping where the river runs narrow and shallow.

The gauge at Kaub stood at 34 cm (13 inches) on Wednesday, well below the 40-cm reference point.

While vessels are still able to navigate at low water levels, they are forced to reduce their loads to avoid the risk of running aground.

About four percent of freight is transported on waterways in Germany, including on the Rhine, which originates in Switzerland and runs through several countries including France and Germany before flowing into the sea in the Netherlands.

READ ALSO: How the Rhine’s low water levels are impacting Germany

Transport on the Rhine has gained significance in recent months because among cargo moved on the river is coal, now all the more necessary as Germany seeks to wean itself off Russian gas.

Germany’s biggest companies have already warned that major disruptions to river traffic could deal another blow to an economy already beset by logistical difficulties.

The 2018 drought, which saw the benchmark depth of the Rhine in Kaub drop to 25 cm in October, shrank German GDP by 0.2 percent that year, according to Deutsche Bank Research.

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