Total lunar eclipse will take place tomorrow

Prathmesh Patil
Monday, 29 January 2018

Speaking to Sakal Times, Niruj Ramanujam of the Astronomical Society of India Public Outreach and Education Committee, said, “When the Moon rises on Pune’s horizon at 6.29 pm, it will already be 7 minutes into the total eclipse phase. People should go to a place where they have an unobstructed view of the horizon and look east. The total eclipse will end at 7.38 pm and one can witness a partial lunar eclipse till 8.41 pm. A fainter penumbral eclipse will be there till 9.39 pm.”

Pune: A total lunar eclipse will take place on Wednesday, giving everyone an opportunity to witness a ‘Super Blue Blood Moon.’ A lunar eclipse takes place when the Earth comes  between the Sun and the Moon and the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Niruj Ramanujam of the Astronomical Society of India Public Outreach and Education Committee, said, “When the Moon rises on Pune’s horizon at 6.29 pm, it will already be 7 minutes into the total eclipse phase. People should go to a place where they have an unobstructed view of the horizon and look east. The total eclipse will end at 7.38 pm and one can witness a partial lunar eclipse till 8.41 pm. A fainter penumbral eclipse will be there till 9.39 pm.”

Ramanujam added, “We have had a fascination for eclipses for millennia. Aryabhata was the pioneer who gave us the correct explanation of an eclipse and also formulated a method to predict eclipses accurately.”

He said eclipses offer an opportunity to carry out scientific experiments. He said, “Einstein’s theory that gravity affects rays of light was experimented and proven right during an eclipse. We can refine our models of the Moon’s motion more accurately during eclipses.” 

The scientific community is urging people to enjoy the eclipse. “The Astronomical Society of India website (bit.ly/eclipse31jan) has a lot of material on the eclipse. We have videos, reading material as well as fun experiments, that can be carried out during the eclipse. We are compiling a list of organisations across India, which are organising viewing parties for the eclipse.”

Super Blue Blood Moon
Niruj Ramanujam, an astrophysicist himself, said, “The Moon is at a relatively closer point to the Earth during the eclipse and we call this a Super-Moon. It is the second full moon in the same month, hence we call it a ‘Blue Moon’ and this time, when light passes through the atmosphere at the edges of the Earth, it will refract and the sunrises and sunsets in these regions of the Earth will be cast on the Moon, making it appear red in colour.”

Phases of eclipse
 At 4.22 pm: Enters penumbra
 5.18 pm: Partial eclipse begins
 6.22 pm: Total eclipse begins
 7 pm: Mid-eclipse
 7.38 pm: Total eclipse ends
 8.41 pm: Partial eclipse ends
 9.39 pm: Leaves penumbra
 This is the last of two supermoons for 2018. 
Moon-rise times
 Mumbai: 6.29 pm
 New Delhi: 5.57 pm
 Pune: 6.29 pm
(With inputs from Manasi Saraf Joshi)

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