'Blue Moon’ eclipse on December 31:
Year 2009 is once in a “Blue Moon” with December having an extra
full moon on the last day of the month. The second full moon day of
the month also the last day of the year, will also have a partial
eclipse of the moon which will......
“Once upon two blue moons” before 2009 ends
A partial moon eclipse that can be viewed in and around India would
be witnessed tonight, says a statement issued by Nehru Planetarium
based in Mumbai.
The moon eclipse that is expected to
begin at 10:45 PM tonight would continue till 03:00 in the morning.
"In Mumbai the penumbral eclipse (that
you cannot notice with eyes) begins at 10:45 p.m. on 31st night. And
as we move into the New Year -
just 21 minutes 40 seconds later Moon walks into Earth's reddish
umbra", says Director of Nehru Planetarium Dr. Piyush Pandey.
"Its southern tip gets looking dirty
red. It is over an hour and 2 minutes later at 1:34 a.m. But the
penumbral phase continues till 3 a.m.", he adds.
The moon eclipse will not be full but
will be partial and it would be seen in and around India.
"It is not much of an eclipse. A
partial one and that too a 'grazing' event. At its maximum phase
only 7 percent of the diameter of the moon will come in the Earth's
shadow. As we all know that the solid Earth's shadow is not dark but
reddish in colour due to the light that filters through the
atmospheric envelope around it and "contaminates" the dark shadow.
As a result all you would see would be a little dimming and
reddening of the southern tip of the Moon", says Dr. Pandey.
The PLE Diagram
illustrating lunar Eclipse is provided by Dr. Piyush Pandey. He
is the Director of Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai
Incidentally, today's moon is also
termed as the 'Blue Moon' as it is the second time in the month that
the full moon will be seen. Earlier the night on December 2 had the full moon.
Meanwhile, Nehru Planetarium says,
unlike solar eclipse, it would be totally safe to witness the lunar
eclipse with the naked eye.
"Though a lunar eclipse is quite safe
to watch with naked eyes without using any filters yet people insist
on viewing it with a telescope. With that in view Nehru Planetarium
Mumbai will put up its telescopes for public viewing on 31st night
from 9 p.m. onwards", says Dr. Pandey.
Also, the Nehru Planetarium brushed
aside the fear of any adverse effect of the lunar eclipse on
pregnant ladies or anyone.
"I have had hundreds of queries from
pregnant ladies, their concerned mothers and mother-in-laws about
the timings and some also ask if the lunar eclipse has any "effect".
I tell them "Yes, it does. After all it is the poor Moon that comes
in the Earth's shadow so it sure must be affecting it. But how would
we know if the Moon that we think is so devoid of emotions must be
feeling due to this act of Earth", Dr. Pandey says adding, "As far
as the Earth is concerned nothing happens to it during a lunar
eclipse. The Earth casts its shadow all the time in a conical shape.
When the Moon happens to pass through it we call it the lunar