The world is set to witness the year’s first total lunar eclipse on Sunday (May 15). The process of the eclipse will begin at 10.27pm (Eastern Standard Time) on Sunday, which according to Indian Standard Time will be 7.57am on Monday, as per a CNN report.
The total lunar eclipse will start an hour later. It will end at 12.53am EST (10.15am IST), the CNN report further said.
Just before the totality, the moon will emit a reddish hue, which is why it is referred to as “Blood Moon”. This will happen because when the Sun’s rays reach the Earth, much of the blue and green light is scattered, while the orange and red colours remain visible.
The Moon will also nearly disappear for some time during the total lunar eclipse.
What is a lunar eclipse?
It is a phase when the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth and Moon are very closely aligned (like a straight line), with Earth between the other two. It casts a shadow on the lunar surface, causing a lunar eclipse.
According to the European Space Agency (ESA), a lunar eclipse only occurs under a full moon and can last up to six hours.
Two shadows are cast during an eclipse. The first is referred to as the umbra (the total shadow, which falls on a narrow strip of land). It is the eclipse shadow’s dark centre. The second, less dark shadow is called penumbra. It is a partial shadow which covers a larger area.
How to view the eclipse?
The lunar eclipse can be viewed with the naked eyes, according to space scientists. “That’s the great thing about lunar eclipses is that you require no other gear other than a passion and interest in being outside and a clear horizon,” Noah Petro, chief of NASA’s Planetary Geology, told the CNN.
The total lunar eclipse will last for a very short time, so enthusiasts won’t be able to enjoy it much. But the Moon will change colours during the entire time of the eclipse, which can be enjoyed by skygazers.
Where will the eclipse be visible?
This total lunar eclipse will be visible in the Southern hemisphere. This means that parts of South America, Europe, and middle-east nations will see a glimpse of the “Blood Red” Moon.
Will the eclipse be visible in India?
No. The eclipse will be visible in Rome, Brussels, London, Paris, Havana, Johannesburg, Lagos, Madrid, Madrid, Santiago, Washington DC, New York, Guatemala City, Rio de Janeiro, and Chicago among others.
The partial eclipse will be visible in Ankara, Cairo, Honolulu, Budapest, and Athens.
How can people in India view the eclipse?
Though the eclipse will not be visible in India, those interested can watch a livestream of the event on NASA. From 11pm ET on May 15 to 12am ET on May 16, ET, which is 8:33am IST on Monday (May 16), the space agency will livestream the eclipse, with experts commenting on each step of the process.