2009 ends with a blue moon eclipse

2009 ends with a blue moon eclipse

A view of the partial lunar eclipse, in New Delhi on Thursday night. PTI

A partial lunar eclipse occurs when only part of the moon passes through the umbra or darkest part of earth's shadow, Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) Director C B Devgun said.

Sky gazers were enthralled to see the earth's shadow sweep past the moon, turning a yellow shining full moon into a dim red one.

As the earth came in between the sun and the moon, its shadow first began sweeping across the moon blocking out much of its bright light.

As the shadow descended gently, the moon's face turned red. The maximum partial eclipse was at about 1 am when the shadow started disappearing slowly to make the moon partially visible.

"The sky turned red when eclipse was at its maximum, the disc of the moon also turned reddish," Devgun said.

The awesome spectacle of the moon being eclipsed was visible all over the country, including the national capital.

The last blue moon partial eclipse occurred in December 1982 and the next will occur in January 2037.

It was a rare event, Prof R C Kapoor of Indian Institute of Astro Physics said.
When a second full moon in a calendar month appears in the night sky, the occurrence is known as a blue moon.

The last time a lunar eclipse took place on a New Year day was in the year 1741, Kapoor said.

The eclipse began when the Moon entered penumbra at 10:47 PM and ended at 02:58:11 AM, Nehru Planetarium Director N Rathnasree said.
The magnitude of the eclipse was 0.082.

The astronomical event was also seen in Asia and Europe, major parts of Africa and some parts of south western Australia, Devgun said.

The eclipse was visible in the region covering Alaska, Australia, Indonesia, Asia, Africa, Europe, including the British Isles and the Arctic regions. The beginning of the umbral phase was visible from the extreme south-eastern part of Australia, middle of South and North Pacific Ocean and extreme Solomon Island. The end of the umbral phase was visible from North and South Atlantic Ocean and Greenland.

The year saw three penumbral lunar eclipses on February 9, July 7 and August 6.

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