Friday February 22, 2019
Home Lead Story Century’s Lon...

Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse To Be Seen In India On July 27

The eclipse would also be visible in parts of South America, much of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia

0
//
Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse To Be Seen In India On July 27
Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse To Be Seen In India On July 27. Pixabay

The longest total lunar eclipse of this century would be visible from all parts of the country on July 27. The celestial body would also be tinged with a reddish hue, a phenomenon popularly referred to as a ‘blood moon’. Director, Research and Academic, MP Birla Institute of Fundamental Research, MP Birla Planetarium, Debiprosad Duari told PTI, “Viewers in India are lucky since the eclipse, both partial and the total, will be entirely visible from all parts of the country.”

The eclipse would also be visible in parts of South America, much of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, he said. The total lunar eclipse would last for one hour and 43 minutes while partial eclipses, which would precede and follow the total eclipse, would last more than an hour, he said.

The partial eclipse of the moon would start at 11:54 pm Indian Standard Time on July 27 and the total eclipse would begin at 1 am on July 28, Duari said. The scientist said that at 1.52 am on July 28, the moon would look the darkest and it would continue till 2:43 am.

“After this period, the moon will remain partially eclipsed till 3:49 am of July 28. It will be a golden opportunity for celestial enthusiasts in India as the eclipse will be visible almost throughout the night,” he said.

During the July 27 total lunar eclipse, the moon has to pass through the central part of the Earth’s shadow. But on July 27 late night, the Full Moon would be near its apogee, the farthest point from the Earth in its orbit around the Earth, and it would be the smallest full moon of the year.

“This smaller and slower-moving full moon takes more time to cross the Earth’s shadow than does a full moon that is closer to Earth and moving faster in orbit. That is why a full moon at or near lunar apogee adds to the duration of a total lunar eclipse,” Duari said.

The full moon would plunge deeply into the Earth’s shadow on the night of July 27-28 when the distance of the Moon from the Earth just before the eclipse would be around 406,223 kilometre, he said.

During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon’s disk can take on a dramatically colourful appearance from bright orange to blood red and more rarely dark brown to very dark grey, depending upon the part of the Earth’s shadow it would be passing through.

This was the reason a totally eclipsed Moon, at times, was called as Blood Moon. Explaining the celestial phenomenon, Duari said a lunar eclipse takes place only at full moon.

“Whenever, the Sun, Earth and Moon come in a perfectly straight line, as the Sun’s rays fall on the Earth, the Earth’s shadow falls onto a patch of space, and only when the Moon enters that patch of shadow, we see a lunar eclipse,” he said.

lunar eclipse, blood moon cycle
lunar eclipse, blood moon cycle. Pixabay

Describing 2018, as a year of lunar eclipses, Duari said the last total lunar eclipse took place earlier this year on January 31.

“It was widely known as Super Blue Blood Moon as it was a so-called supermoon when a Moon appears extra big and bright being closest to the Earth in its elliptical orbit. A Blue Moon is the second full moon during a calendar month,” he said.

“The next total lunar eclipse on January 21, 2019, will be only for one hour and two minutes because it will pass to the north of the shadow’s centre,” Duari added.

Also read: January to have two supermoons, blue moon and total lunar eclipse

On whether it will be safe to view the lunar eclipses with naked eyes, Duari said, “No special filters are required to protect our eyes like those used for watching solar eclipses. One does not need a telescope to watch the eclipse, though a good pair of binoculars will enhance the experience.” (IANS)

Next Story

Israel’s Private Spacecraft to Shoot For Moon

Israeli private spacecraft shoots for Moon

0
Lunar eclipse, Moon
Earth starts to cast its shadow on the moon during a complete lunar eclipse seen from Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug. 28, 2018. VOA

Aiming to become the fourth country to make a soft landing on the Moon, Israel’s non-profit SpaceIL has announced it will launch a spacecraft from Florida’s Cape Canaveral on Thursday on board a Falcon 9 rocket.

The unmanned craft, weighing 1,300 pounds and standing approximately five feet tall, will then begin an about seven-week journey to the Moon, from where it will send back images of the rocky surface and conduct experiments on the lunar magnetic field.

The spacecraft is called “Beresheet,” a reference to the first words of the Bible in Hebrew: “In the beginning…”

For decades, the Moon was the exclusive domain of the superpowers. The Soviet Union landed Luna 2 on the Earth’s nearest neighbour in 1959. Three years later, the US landed Ranger 4 on the Moon.

These were “hard landings,” meaning the craft crashed into the Moon. The first “soft landings” for both countries came in 1966, when spacecraft made controlled descents to the lunar surface.

It would take nearly another 50 years for a third country to perform a soft Moon landing, when China’s Chang’e 3 did it in 2013.

If Israel’s spacecraft venture proceeds as planned, it would become the fourth — and by far the smallest — country to do so. It would also become the first private enterprise to make a controlled landing on the Moon, with the smallest spacecraft to do it, and by far the least expensive mission.

The total cost of the programme, raised from private donations, is $100 million, a small fraction of the billions of dollars invested in the US space program.

The moon is seen near the Illimani mountain during a full lunar eclipse in La Paz, Bolivia, July 27, 2018. Photo: Reuters.

“This mission that we were talking about was really a mission impossible,” said entrepreneur Morris Kahn, who donated $40 million to the project.

“The only thing is I didn’t realize it was impossible, and the three engineers that started this project didn’t think it was impossible, and the way Israel thinks, nothing is impossible… We are really making this dream come true,” Kahn added.

SpaceIL was founded eight years ago to compete in the Google Lunar X Prize, an international competition to see whether a private enterprise could land a spacecraft on the moon, move 500 meters in any direction, and transmit live, high-definition video from the lunar surface.

The competition was canceled in January 2018 when none of the five teams left in the competition was able to meet the March deadline for a launch.

Also Read- Huawei Involved in Stealing Apple Trade Secrets

But some of the teams persisted, determined to land on the Moon even without the incentive of $30 million in prize money.

SpaceIL pressed on, signing with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to launch their craft to the Moon on board a Falcon 9 rocket, which is scheduled for launch on February 21.

Beresheet will travel approximately 4 million miles on its journey, circling the earth multiple times to gain speed before it slingshots towards the moon. It is scheduled to land on April 11. (IANS)