Skygazers are having a field day with three major celestial events, two of which occurred earlier this week. And now they are all geared up to witness a rare Blue Moon total lunar eclipse which will take place on January 31.
What makes it a rare celestial event is the fact that this is going to happen for the first time in over 150 years. And this also happens to be the first eclipse of 2018. The total lunar eclipse involves a Blue Moon, which is the second full moon of the month.
For the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, the Blue Moon total eclipse will already be underway as the Moon rises.
At that time, the Pacific Ocean will be turned towards the Moon and the Blue Moon total eclipse will occur during the middle of the night.
Where to watch:
People living in Central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and most of Australia will get a fine glimpse of this spectacular celestial event in the evening sky.
People in Alaska, Hawaii and northwestern Canada will be able to see the eclipse from start to finish. However, people in rest of North and Central America will be a bit disappointed as the moonset will play spoilsport.
Duration of Blue Moon total lunar eclipse
The duration of the Blue Moon total lunar eclipse will be 77 minutes as the moon will track through the southern part of the Earth’s shadow.
On reaching totality, the lower limb of the Moon will appear much brighter than the dark upper limb, according to ‘Space.com’.
When to watch
The total phase will begin at 4:51 am PST along the US West Coast. The farther east you will go, the closer the start of the partial phases will coincide with moonrise. For instance, along the US Atlantic Seaboard, the moon will have only just begun to enter the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow, the umbra, at 6:48 am.
Next Blue Moon total lunar eclipse
The next time a Blue Moon will pass through the Earth’s umbra will be on December 31, 2028 and then on January 31, 2037. Both will be total eclipses.
An 8 per cent partial eclipse took place on December 31, 2009 but the last total eclipse of a Blue Moon happened in March 1866.