Total Lunar Eclipse – Game of Shadows


The sky never fails to amaze us, especially when it comes to the celestial event and this time it’s going to get doubled as Moon is going to get eclipsed and the red planet Mars is going to be placed best for observation.

On 27th July, 2018 the moon is going to be eclipsed again for the second time in the year. Apart from being the second lunar eclipse in year, it is also going to be the longest lunar eclipse of the century.

What is Lunar Eclipse?
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When the Sun, Earth and Moon gets aligned in the straight line and the Earth comes in between the Sun and the Moon and the Moon comes in the shadow of Earth then it is known as Lunar Eclipse.

During the eclipse, the moon turns deep red or reddish brown as some of the sunlight going through Earth’s atmosphere is bent around the edge of Earth and falls onto the moon’s surface and at that time it takes a reddish tint, which is why the eclipsed moon is also known as Blood Moon.

Types of Lunar Eclipse

Eclipse is caused by the shadow casted by Earth on Moon. The shadow casted by Earth can be of two types i.e. Umbra and Penumbra and depending upon the position of the Moon in the Earth’s shadow eclipse can be Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, Partial Lunar Eclipse and Total Lunar Eclipse

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When the moon passes through the penumbral shadow of the Earth, then Penumbral lunar eclipse occurs in which people can only observe a little darkening on the surface of Moon.

After penumbra, when the moon starts entering into the umbra shadow of Earth, Partial lunar eclipse occurs in which the color of the moon appears to be red due to atmosphere.

If the moon completely enters into umbra then Total lunar eclipse occurs and the whole disc of the moon turns red, making it a worthy phenomenon to look out for.

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Duration and timings of the Eclipse
The moon will start going into the penumbral shadow from 22:44 IST followed by the partial phase which will start after almost 1 hour 10 minutes i.e. at 23:54 IST.

The moon will enter into the phase of totality at 01:00 A.M. i.e. after midnight and will remain in the totality for 1 hour and 43 minutes making it the longest eclipse in this century.

The totality will be followed again by the partial and penumbral phase till 04:58 P.M thus making the total duration of the eclipse be 6 hours and 14 minutes.

Why there is no eclipse on every full Moon?

Duration and timings of the Eclipse
The moon will start going into the penumbral shadow from 22:44 IST followed by the partial phase which will start after almost 1 hour 10 minutes i.e. at 23:54 IST.
The moon will enter into the phase of totality at 01:00 A.M. i.e. after midnight and will remain in the totality for 1 hour and 43 minutes making it the longest eclipse in this century.
The totality will be followed again by the partial and penumbral phase till 04:58 P.M thus making the total duration of the eclipse be 6 hours and 14 minutes.

Why there is no eclipse on every full Moon?

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The moon is orbiting the Earth but not in the same plane in which the Earth is orbiting the sun. It’s plane is tilted by an angle of 5 degrees. Due to this Moon spends most of the time either above or below the plane of Earth’s orbit and during full moon, as it misses the entire shadow thus resulting in no eclipse during every full moon.

But two to four times each year, the Moon passes through some portion of the Earth’s penumbral or umbral shadows and one of the above three types of eclipses occurs.

Observation of eclipses

Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are completely safe to watch. You don’t need any kind of protective filters or special instruments. It can easily be observed with the naked eyes but a binocular or small telescope can magnify the view and making the red color brighter and much clear to see.

Amateur astronomers can actually make some useful observations during total eclipses. It’s impossible to predict exactly how dark the Moon will appear during totality. The color can also vary from dark gray or brown, through a range of shades of red and bright orange. The color and brightness depend on the amount of dust in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse. But by using the Danjon’s Brightness Scale for lunar eclipses, amateurs can categorize the Moon’s color and brightness during totality.

Also amateur astronomers try to estimate the enlargement of Earth’s atmosphere due to airborne dust and volcanic ash by careful measuring the exact time when each crater enters and leaves the umbral shadow.

Apart from scientific observations, Lunar eclipses had always been one of the favourite subject for the Astrophotographers.

Blood Micro moon eclipse

As the Moon is orbiting the earth in elliptical orbit, on the day of the eclipse, the Full Moon is also at its farthest distance from the Earth i.e. 406,223kms, so it will look a bit smaller in the sky, making this a Blood Micro Moon eclipse.

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Mars opposition along with eclipse

On one hand, viewers will be amazed with the beauty of eclipsed moon while on the other hand, the red planet Mars will strongly mark its presence in the sky by being the brightest in the sky for this year.

The Mars will be in opposition on the same day, placing it best for the observation in the sky. It will be located near the Moon only.

Eclipse never comes alone!!

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A solar eclipse always occurs about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse. Usually, there are two eclipses in a row, but sometimes, there are three during the same eclipse season.

First eclipse was on 13 July 2018 (Partial solar eclipse)

Second eclipse is on 27 July 2018 (Total Lunar Eclipse)

Third eclipse will be on 11 August 2018 (Partial solar eclipse)

What SPACE India is doing?

SPACE India is going to have scientific expeditions in order to study Total Lunar Eclipse from the 5 different locations in India i.e. Delhi, Jaisalmer, Langza, Puri and Chennai.

So, let’s join hands to be the part of these double celestial treat coming on 27th July…….

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