Look Up! Total Lunar Eclipse On 8 November, The Last One For Three Years

Look Up! Total Lunar Eclipse On 8 November, The Last One For Three Years

by Karan Kamble - Monday, November 7, 2022 05:16 PM IST
Look Up! Total Lunar Eclipse On 8 November, The Last One For Three YearsA total lunar eclipse, as seen on 21 January 2019, taken from Oria (Brindisi), Italy (Photo: Giuseppe Donatiello/Wikimedia Commons)
  • A lunar eclipse will be visible everywhere in India at the time of moonrise on 8 November.

    People living in the eastern and north-eastern parts of India will be extra lucky with the eclipse viewing.

The sky this week: a total lunar eclipse will occur on 8 November.

Although this will be the second total lunar eclipse of the year — one occurred just recently, in May — it will be the last such eclipse until 2025! Expect the next one on 14 March 2025.

However, partial and penumbral lunar eclipses will be visible during this three-year total lunar eclipse bardo. The next lunar eclipse, of the partial kind, will be visible from India on 28 October 2023.

On 8 November, the eclipse will be visible, to varying degrees, across Asia, Australia, the Pacific, and North and South America.

A partial lunar eclipse will be visible everywhere in India at the time of moonrise. The eclipse will begin at 2.39 pm. The totality and maximum eclipse phases will occur at 3.46 pm and 4.29 pm respectively. The eclipse will draw to a close at 6.19 pm, with the totality ending earlier, at 5:12 pm.

The eclipse will be increasingly visible towards the east of India. Therefore, one can briefly catch the total lunar eclipse in the east, such as in North East India. The area of the Moon eclipsed will be lesser, as seen by us in India, as one heads westwards.

Further, the eclipsed Moon will take on a red hue during totality.

"The red color occurs because of the refraction, filtering, and scattering of light by Earth’s atmosphere," a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) blog explains.

It's an instance of Rayleigh scattering — named after the nineteenth-century British physicist Lord Rayleigh. This kind of scattering is behind red sunrises and sunsets as well.

How red the Moon will look depends on atmospheric conditions, influenced by factors like volcanic eruptions, fires, and dust storms.

Because of the reddish hue, the totally eclipsed Moon is sometimes called the "Blood Moon."

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth casts a complete shadow over the Moon. This shadow was two parts — umbra and penumbra.

Umbra is the innermost part of the shadow where direct light from the Sun is completely blocked, while the penumbra is the outermost part of the shadow where the light is partially blocked.

During a total lunar eclipse, the Sun and Moon are on opposite sides of Earth. Total lunar eclipses occur roughly once every 1.5 years, on average. They aren't more frequent because they are only possible when the orbits of the Sun, Earth, and Moon align.

The Moon’s orbit around Earth is tilted by about 5 degrees with respect to Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

No special eye protection is needed for viewing a lunar eclipse, unlike solar eclipses. A pair of binoculars or a telescope will make the viewing experience even better.

India and some others parts of the world were witness to a partial solar eclipse only a fortnight ago.

Different from a lunar eclipse, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. When this happens, the Sun’s light is blocked and a shadow is cast on our planet. The sky becomes dark, as if it were dusk or dawn.

In a “partial” solar eclipse, the Moon doesn’t cover all of the Sun’s face — which would be the case with a total solar eclipse. Rather, it covers a part of the Sun, with our super star peeking out from behind the Moon (as seen by us).

There are no more eclipses left this year, so it would be a prize to catch the lunar eclipse on 8 November.

Note: The Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru has set up a livestream of the lunar eclipse, scheduled to start at 2:30 pm.

Karan Kamble writes on science and technology. He occasionally wears the hat of a video anchor for Swarajya's online video programmes.

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