As scientists and space enthusiasts in the world gear up to witness the longest total lunar eclipse or the blood moon or Chandra Granhan 2018 of the 21st century on Friday, July 27, heavy rain and cloudy skies are likely to play spoilsport for common viewers in India. Several parts of the country has been affected by incessant rainfall and flood situation. As a matter of fact, in view of the wet weather, the Astronomical Society of India has cautioned against creating a hype around the blood moon event in a statement.
"For serious astronomers, this event does offer an extraordinary opportunity to study Mars through their telescopes. However, the layperson who might expect to see dramatic details of the surface of Mars would probably be disappointed," the ASI said in the release.
"Since we are in the middle of the monsoon here in India, the sky is likely to be cloudy," the ASI said.
In India, the celestial event can be witnessed most clearly in Jammu and Kashmir and Tamil Nadu.
"People in Jammu & Kashmir and Tamil Nadu are most likely to be able to witness the event clearly," Aniket Sule, Chair of the Public Outreach and Education Committee (POEC) of ASI, told PTI.
The total lunar eclipse
The total lunar eclipse will coincide with another relatively rare celestial phenomenon known as the Mars opposition on July 27. The celestial show will coincide with the closest movement of Mars towards earth, scientists say.
It is expected that the moon will turn blood red as it crosses the earth’s shadow. And, at 10:37 pm IST, Mars, Earth, and the Sun will be moving along as straight a line as possible.
The lunar eclipse 2018 will last one hour and 43 minutes, nearly 40 minutes longer than the Super Blue Blood Moon of January 31.
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Mars would rise around the sunset time and will set around the time of sunrise. An opposition happens when Mars is the closest to Earth in its orbit, both on the same side of the Sun.
The red planet will appear brighter and bigger than usual.
(With inputs from agencies)