Sky Enthusiasts Gear Up to Witness a Partial Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Image credit - Image by Jean van der Meulen from Pixabay

When the Sun’s rays fall on the Earth, its shadow falls on to a patch of space. When the Moon comes to occupy this patch of space, the shadow of the Earth automatically begins to fall on it. This causes a lunar eclipse to occur. The shadow patch is composed of two parts which are shaped like cones- one is fixated inside the other. The outer shadow is called Penumbra and is a zone where the Earth’s shadow is partial and does not block the Sun’s rays completely. The inner shadow called Umbra, in contrast blocks all the direct sunlight from reaching to the Moon. When only a small part of the Moon passes through the Umbra, we witness a partial lunar eclipse but if the entire Moon passes through the shadow of the Umbra, we witness a total lunar eclipse.

Image credit Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay

Today India will experience a partial lunar eclipse. Sky enthusiasts from all over the country are gearing up to witness the lunar eclipse that can easily be seen from almost all parts of the country.  The partial lunar eclipse will roughly last for about three hours. Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth moves between the Sun and the Moon, Here is everything that we need to know about this celestial phenomenon and here is how we can watch it-

  1. This partial lunar eclipse will last for the greater part of the night and will be visible from all parts of the nation. The eclipse is scheduled to begin at around 1.31 a.m. on Wednesday. The time when the moon will look the darkest throughout the lunar eclipse will be at 3 A.M. It is believed that the Moon will remain partially eclipsed till around 4. 29 a.m. on Wednesday.
  2. It is estimated that more than 65% of the Moon’s diameter will remain covered due to the partial lunar eclipse at around 3 a.m. due to the falling of the Earth’s shadow on the Moon. On Tuesday night, only a small part of the Moon will pass the Earth’s shadow.
  3. India is scheduled to witness the next lunar eclipse on May 26, 2021. This would be a total lunar eclipse.
  4. This celestial phenomenon can also be witnessed from countries in South America, Africa, Asia and Australia.
  5. Lunar eclipse takes place only on a full moon night when the Sun and the Earth are aligned in a perfectly straight line.
  6. It is totally safe to view lunar eclipses with the naked eye. There is also no need of a telescope to view the lunar eclipse, but a good pair of binoculars can make the experience more enjoyable.



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