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Rediff.com  » News » Tonight, DISCOVER the blood red side of the moon!

Tonight, DISCOVER the blood red side of the moon!

Last updated on: June 15, 2011 16:21 IST

Tonight, DISCOVER the blood red side of the moon!

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Tonight, switch off your TVs and head outside to watch one of the rarest and most breathtaking celestial events of the century.

The longest and darkest total lunar eclipse of the century is all set to wow you with its jaw-dropping splendour.

Click on next to find out when, how and the best way to watch the rare celestial event...


Image: The moon is engulfed in the earth's shadow during the peak of a rare total lunar eclipse as viewed through a telescope
Photographs: Doug Murray/Reuters
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Where will the eclipse be visible from India?

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The eclipse will be visible all across India, unless the sky is cloudy. The moon will turn into a deep crimson, thanks to the sunlight filtered via the earth's atmosphere.

An unusually long lunar eclipse with the moon immersed deeply inside the umbral (darker) shadow of the earth will occur.

 


Image: The moon enters into the earth's shadow from fully lit to a total lunar eclipse
Photographs: Henry Romero/Reuters
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How long will the eclipse last?

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The total phase of this lunar eclipse will last 100 minutes. The last eclipse to exceed this duration had occurred in July 2000.

The next such eclipse will only take place in 2141.

The total lunar eclipse will begin at 00:52:30 IST and end at 02:32:42 IST. While the partial eclipse will begin at 23:52:56 IST and end at 03:32:15 IST.


Image: The moon is visible during a total lunar eclipse
Photographs: Tim Wimborne/Reuters
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Will the rest of the world also witness this stunning eclipse?

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The eclipse will be visible completely in Africa and Central Asia. It will be visible rising over South America, Western Africa and Europe, and seen setting over Eastern Asia and Australia.

At 11:29 pm on Wednesday, the moon will occult (hide) behind the star 51 Ophiuchi. The star will reappear after 90 minutes at 01:01 am of June 16.


Image: The view of the earth from the moon during a lunar eclipse
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikipedia
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Why does a lunar eclipse occur?

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A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth, in the course of its orbit around the sun, comes between the moon and the sun in such a way that the moon is hidden in the shadow cast by the earth.

As the moon moves deeper into the earth's shadow, the moon dons a number of stunning hues including gray, orange and eventually blood red.

Note: UT is Universal Time. Add 2.04 hours to Universal Time (UT) to get Indian Standard Time (IST)


Image: The moon passes right to left through the earth's shadow
Photographs: Courtesy: Wikipedia
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Why does the moon turn blood red?

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Sun's rays passing through the earth's atmosphere light up the moon, albeit indirectly. The earth's atmosphere dispenses off with the blue coloured light, making red and orange the most prominent colour during a lunar eclipse.

While it is harmful to watch a solar eclipse without special glasses, it is safe to watch a lunar eclipse without any such accessory. So get ready to watch one of the rarest and most beautiful celestial events tonight!

 


Image: The moon enters into the earth's shadow from fully lit to a total lunar eclipse
Photographs: Henry Romero /Reuters
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