The first lunar eclipse of 2018 will grace the skies today. With three celestial events happening on the same day at the same time, the total lunar eclipse or the super blood blue moon is going to be a rare occurrence. After March 1866 this is the first time that a blue moon total lunar eclipse is happening. According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), January 31 is special for three reasons. Gordon Johnston, program executive and lunar blogger at NASA Headquarters in Washington said, “For the (continental) U.S., the viewing will be best in the West.Also Read - Cyclone Yaas: Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse Could Trigger Greater Damage in West Bengal
Weather permitting, the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii will have a spectacular view of totality from start to finish. Unfortunately, eclipse viewing will be more challenging in the Eastern time zone. The eclipse begins at 5:51 AM ET, as the Moon is about to set in the western sky, and the sky is getting lighter in the east. Also Read - Lunar Eclipse or Chandra Grahan 2020: Can This Celestial Event be Harmful For Pregnant Women? Know All About it
Here are the three reasons why January 31 is special according to NASA: Also Read - Chandra Grahan 2020: Will This Penumbral Lunar Eclipse be Visible in India?
1. “It’s the third in a series of ‘supermoons’, when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit — known as perigee — and about 14 percent brighter than usual.
2. It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a ‘blue moon’.
3. The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a ‘blood moon’.”
The eclipse will be visible for residents of North America, Alaska, Hawaii before sunrise on January 31. Those in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia and New Zealand can see ‘super blue blood moon’ during moonrise on December 31. In India, the lunar eclipse will start from 5.18 pm, the total eclipse will start at 6.21 pm and it will last till 7.37 pm.
The total lunar eclipse that begins can be seen from everywhere in India. It is called the partial shadow or penumbra of the earth’s shadow striking the moon. The main eclipse which will start around 6.25 pm after sunset can be seen in the eastern sky as the moon would have just risen by then.