The first total lunar eclipse of 2015 would be visible in its entirety tomorrow from some parts of the eastern-most region of Arunachal Pradesh, a senior astrophysicist said.
The first total lunar eclipse of 2015 would be visible in its entirety today from some parts of the eastern-most region of Arunachal Pradesh, a senior astrophysicist said.
“Tezu & Roing in Arunachal Pradesh will witness the total lunar eclipse lasting for four minutes 43 seconds just after the moonrise. Places where the moon will be rising during the eclipse will be Dibrugarh, Imphal, Kohima and Port Blair,” Director, Research and Academic MP Birla Institute of Fundamental Research, MP Birla Planetarium, Dr Debiprosad Duari told PTI.
The rest of India, including Kolkata, will be able to observe varying degrees of partial eclipse starting from the moonrise at their respective geographical positions, he said.
The Lunar Eclipse will start at around 3.45 PM. The eclipse will be total at 5.27 PM and will remain so until 5.32 PM. Thereafter, the partial eclipse will last up to 7.14 PM, he said.
“For Kolkata, the moonrise will be around 5.50 PM and at that time the totality will end but a partial eclipse will be visible. The partial eclipse will end around 7.15 PM,” Dr Duari said.
“Skygazers in the western part of North America will have the best view. For the other parts of America, the moon sets while the eclipse is still in progress. The eclipse will be seen in its entirety from Hawaii, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and eastern parts of Asia,” he stated, adding that portions of the eclipse would be visible from most of the places of North America.
Central and eastern North America and the western half of South America would see the beginning stage of the eclipse before moonset while most of Asia witnesses the later stages after moonrise, the scientist elaborated.
Talking about the uniqueness of tomorrow’s celestial event, Dr Duari said, “The duration of the totality will be very short compared to other total lunar eclipses. This time, rather than passing deep into the Earth’s shadow, the moon will be passing through the shadow’s edge.
“The period of totality, when the moon is fully enclosed in the Earth’s umbral shadow, will last just four and half minutes or so. This makes it the shortest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century,” he said.
In fact, tomorrow’s eclipse has the shortest period of totality for almost 500 years. Back in 1529, there was an eclipse where totality lasted for just one minute and 42 seconds, the scientist said.
The next total lunar eclipse would be on September 28 this year which would, however, be not be visible from anywhere in India, not even a partial one, he stated.
During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon’s disk can take on a dramatically colorful 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 will be passing through, he said.
Asked what safety measures one should take while watching the eclipse tomorrow, Dr Duari said, “Lunar eclipses are completely safe to view with the naked eye. No special filters are required to protect your eyes like those used for solar eclipses. One does not need a telescope to watch the eclipse, although a good pair of binoculars will enhance the experience.”
A Lunar eclipse takes place only at Full Moon whenever the Sun, the Earth and the Moon come in a perfect straight line. As the Sun’s rays falls on the Earth, its shadow falls onto a patch of space and only when the Moon enters that patch of shadow, a Lunar eclipse could be witnessed.