Lunar Beauty on July 27-28th, 2018.

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2018 has already been a year of celestial events. After the blue blood moon a few months back, which is quite a rare view in human history, this time, July brings you another majestic event- The Longest Blood moon. This will be the longest lunar eclipse and a blood moon of this century!!

Now, what is the blood moon? It’s basically a lunar eclipse where the sun’s shadow falls on the moon in such a manner that the refracted lights get a little red shifted and the moon appears to be nearly blood-red in color. And the distance of the moon from the Earth will be merely just over 40600 km.

The eclipse will be visible in two parts, the first one being a total lunar eclipse that would last an hour and 43 minutes followed by a partial eclipse that would last a little more than an hour, according to Director, Research, and Academic, MP Birla Institute of Fundamental Research, MP Birla Planetarium, Debiprosad Duari.

“Viewers in India are lucky since the eclipse, both partial and the total will be entirely visible from all parts of the country,” he was quoted as saying. The phenomenon will also be visible in some parts of South America, large parts of Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia.

However, the phenomenon is not safe to view with naked eyes. “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,” Mr. Durai 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, Mr. 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 the night of July 27, 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,” Mr. Duari 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 gray, 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. Below is the table for convenience.

ent UTC Time Time in Kolkata* Visible in Kolkata
Penumbral Eclipse begins 27 Jul, 17:14:47 27 Jul, 22:44:47 Yes
Partial Eclipse begins 27 Jul, 18:24:27 27 Jul, 23:54:27 Yes
Full Eclipse begins 27 Jul, 19:30:15 28 Jul, 01:00:15 Yes
Maximum Eclipse 27 Jul, 20:21:44 28 Jul, 01:51:44 Yes
Full Eclipse ends 27 Jul, 21:13:11 28 Jul, 02:43:11 Yes
Partial Eclipse ends 27 Jul, 22:19:00 28 Jul, 03:49:00 Yes
Penumbral Eclipse ends 27 Jul, 23:28:38 28 Jul, 04:58:38 Yes
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