When, how and where to watch the total lunar eclipse in India
Moongazers would be able to watch the eclipse for six hours and 14 minutes, with the ‘total phase’ lasting for an hour and 43 minutes.india Updated: Jul 26, 2018 09:31 IST
The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century will be visible across India on Friday, providing hobbyists and professional stargazers with a rare opportunity to watch the moon being blanketed by the Earth’s shadow for over six hours.
People would be able to watch the eclipse for six hours and 14 minutes, with the ‘total phase’ lasting for an hour and 43 minutes.
While the eclipse will begin at 10.44 pm in India (17:14 UTC), the total phase will extend from 1 am to 2.43 am (19:30 to 21:13 UTC). So, if you plan to watch this natural phenomenon until the very end, you may want to have a few cups of coffee handy.
The longest possible period of totality for a lunar eclipse is an hour and 47 minutes. The planet witnessed the longest eclipse of the previous century on July 16, 2000, lasting for 1 hour, 46 minutes and 24 seconds.
Fortunately, Indians will be able to watch the total eclipse from start to finish. The other regions that share this cosmic treat are the Middle East, parts of Russia and Kazakhstan, and the eastern half of Africa, but at least part of the eclipse can be seen from almost everywhere in the world except North America.
This eclipse happens to coincide with the moon’s apogee, a point in the moon’s orbit where it is farthest from the earth. It will signal the opposite of the well-known “supermoon” – a relatively tiny-looking moon called a “micromoon”. Mars will also be very close to the pint-sized red moon, and will be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye as a small, reddish speck.
However, those looking forward to witnessing this cosmic event would do well to keep an eye on the weather forecast charts – given that monsoon clouds and rain could prove to be a dampener. Light pollution and high-rises can also interfere with stargazing for those who live in the cities, especially as the moon will rise only about thirty degrees over the southern horizon.
There are multiple opportunities for group viewing across India. Delhiites, for instance, can watch the eclipse through telescopes from the Nehru Planetarium 10 pm onwards, and events will be held at similar hours at the Birla Planetarium in Kolkata and Chennai as well as the Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai and Bengaluru.