Delhiites set to witness darkest lunar eclipse | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Delhiites set to witness darkest lunar eclipse

delhi Updated: Jun 15, 2011 14:14 IST

Some will visit the Nehru Planetarium while others will arm themselves with telescopes and take their places on their terraces -- Delhiites are all set to witness the darkest lunar eclipse of the century on Wednesday night.

With an expected duration of 100 minutes, the eclipse will begin at around 11.30 pm and continue till early Thursday. It is being considered as one of the longest eclipses by astronomy institutions.

"We have set up several telescopes in our lawn. Our programme will begin at 8 pm if the weather permits and will go on till 4.30 am tomorrow (Thursday)," a Nehru Planetarium official told IANS.

"The visitors would first be educated about the eclipse and once it starts, experts will provide details like names of different craters on the surface of the moon," he added.

NGO Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) has planned a special viewing of the eclipse at their centre in Janakpuri in west Delhi.

"A live webcast of the eclipse will be available from 11.30 pm on our website space-india.org. Apart from the telescopes, people will be able to watch the eclipse on large screens that will be set up on our building's terrace," said Mila Mitra, scientific officer and event head at SPACE.

"As part of an experiment, some of our volunteers will consume food during the eclipse to see if it has any adverse effect on them," she added.

According to Mitra, apart from being the longest eclipse, it will also be the darkest as the moon will pass deeply through the earth's umbral (dark) shadow and slowly assume a coppery red colour - making it a not to be missed spectacle.

"The previous darkest lunar eclipse took place four decades back on Aug 6, 1971," she added.

Meanwhile, those who would not be able to venture out late at night are all set to witness the eclipse from their home's terraces. Armed with expensive telescopes, their obsession with astronomy will have the better of them as they prepare for a long night ahead.

"I would be up all night and have also called my friends. We would watch the eclipse from our terrace all night," said 26 year old Bhaskar Bose.

Two total lunar eclipses were forecast for 2011, the second occurrence is slated for December 10.

The eclipse will be completely visible over Africa and Central Asia, rising over South America, West Africa and Europe, and setting over East Asia, and Australia.

Earlier this year, two solar eclipses have also occurred but they were not visible in India.