This lunar eclipse is going to be once in a lifetime event!

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Today, the world is going to witness the longest lunar eclipse of this century. Scientists are excited. Not only because it is going to be extra-ordinary in nature but also because eclipses are the time when they may discover something new. Just like hundreds of years ago, when they discovered new elements?

Why does lunar eclipse occur?

Lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon and all three are perfectly aligned. This formation prevents sunlight from reaching the Moon.

Why does moon appear red this time as against black in usual eclipses of moon?

Today, a cosmic phenomenon “the lunar eclipse” is occurring in nature, a complete eclipse, extra-ordinary in nature from usual eclipses, with moon looking red, as against black in usual eclipses of moon. This, of course is due to extra-ordinary position of moon with respect to earth and sun happening once in a century or more; and the redness on moon being caused by the scattered Sun’s light passing through moon’s atmosphere where all six colours but the seventh colour (Red) of white light (VIBGYOR) are absorbed, and red being reflected. This makes moon look red.

Did you know?

During the phenomena duration, scientists go high up in space with instruments like spectrometers, etc., to examine the scattered light and try to find the changes if any occurring or even discovering new things thereby. The discovery of Zero group elements of Periodic table like Helium (He), Neon (Ne), Argon (A), etc., has been made by examining the spectrum of the light.

Why you (common people/students) should be excited too?

  1. Today is going to be the longest lunar eclipse of this century. It will last for 1 hour and 43 minutes (total 103 minutes).
  2. The phenomenon will be visible in most parts of India. You can view it through naked eyes.
  3. The eclipse will start in India at 11.44 pm on Friday night.
  4. The entire celestial event, from start to finish, will last for about four hours.
  5. The moon will turn red (also called blood moon) or ruddy-brown colour.
  6. Planet Mars will appear bigger and brighter today.
  7. Mars will be seen making closest approach to Earth in 15 years. It will be brightest on July 31.

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