Supermoon, blood moon, blue moon, total lunar eclipse on Jan 31

Supermoon, blood moon, blue moon, total lunar eclipse on Jan 31

Supermoon, blood moon, blue moon, total lunar eclipse on Jan 31

It will be a total lunar eclipse, a combination of a supermoon, blood moon and a blue moon, on January 31.

Amateur astronomer S A Mohan Krishna said, "This will be a rare astronomical feast. The eclipse will be visible in West Asia, Asia, Indonesia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North and South America, Northeast Africa, Antarctica, Pacific Ocean, and the Hawaiian Islands. It is visible from all parts of India. This is happening after 150 years, the last one dating back to March 31, 1866."

"Lunar eclipse is the passage of the Moon through the Earth's shadow. Lunar eclipses, which may be total or partial, can occur only at full moon when Sun, Earth, and Moon are in line. As the Sun is an extended light source, Earth's shadow has two components - a dark, central Umbra, where the Sun is completely obscured, and a lighter outer Penumbra, within which the obscuration is partial. During a lunar eclipse, the Moon passes first through the penumbra, taking about an hour, moving eastward by its own diameter, to reach the western edge of the umbra. During the penumbral phase, the light of the full moon is only slightly reduced. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the umbral region of the Earth's shadow and becomes imperceptible. A lunar eclipse is discernible from a large part of the Earth. Lunar eclipses usually precede or follow solar eclipses by a fortnight. During a total eclipse of the Moon, the range of shading and the intensity of colour vary," he said.

"No two lunar eclipses are ever quite the same. Although some dismiss them as of less interest than solar eclipses, they are fascinating to observe. Lunar eclipses also have the advantage of being visible from the entire hemisphere of the Earth, where the Moon is above the horizon, rather than being most impressive along with a narrow track. The main difference from one event to another is the degree to which the totally eclipsed Moon is darkened and how colourful it might be," Krishna said.

"The details of the Total Eclipse of Moon on January 31 in India are: eclipse begins - 5.18 pm; visibility of full moon - 6.21 pm; total eclipse begins - 6.21 pm; maximum phase of the eclipse - 6.59 pm; total eclipse ends - 7.37 pm; partial eclipse ends - 8.41 pm; moon enters Penumbra - 4.21 pm; moon leaves penumbra - 9.38 pm. The duration of the total lunar eclipse, visible on January 31, is 3 hours 18 minutes," he said.

"After this, the next time that a Blue Moon passes through Earth's Umbra will be on December 31, 2028, and, after that, on January 31, 2037. Both of these eclipses will be total. Before 2017, there was an 8% partial eclipse on December 31, 2009, but, for a total eclipse of a Blue Moon, we have to go back to March 31, 1866. Large telescopes or high magnifications are of little value for observing a lunar eclipse. It is always recommended using binoculars or a small low-power telescope since they both allow the entire Moon to be viewed during the event. Next Total Lunar Eclipse can be seen on July 27, 2018," he added.

In Mysuru, eclipse watching has been arranged at Sri Ramakrishna Vidyashala (Vinay 86601 04167), Excel Public School (Kiran Prasad 97415 16448), Mysore Science Foundation (G B Santosh Kumar 81055 03863), Breakthrough Science Society (Sudha 944831 4130) and other locations. The best viewing location is from Chamundi Hill.