Kerala State Science and Technology Museum gears up for century’s longest total lunar eclipse
The eclipse will be visible in full from Thiruvananthapuram during the final hours of Friday and the early hours of Saturday.
Published: 26th July 2018 06:10 AM | Last Updated: 26th July 2018 06:10 AM | A+A A-
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Get ready for the century’s longest total lunar eclipse on Friday night! The Kerala State Science and Technology Museum (KSSTM) in the state capital is making arrangements for viewing the eclipse using telescopes. The eclipse will be visible in full from Thiruvananthapuram during the final hours of Friday and the early hours of Saturday. “You don’t really need telescopes to view a lunar eclipse, but we will be arranging a six-inch and 11-inch Celestron telescopes for better viewing,” KSSTM director Arul Jerald Prakash said.
The total eclipse will start by 1 am the wee hours of Saturday. But a partial eclipse will begin by 11.55 pm on Friday when the moon starts entering the earth’s shadow. The total eclipse will end by 2.45 am on Saturday. The partial eclipse at the fag end of the celestial show will be visible till 3.45 am. The total duration of the eclipse is six hours and 14 minutes of which the full eclipse will account for one hour and 43 minutes, officials said.
KSSTM telescopes will be available for viewing from 11.30 pm to 3 am. So what is so special about Friday’s eclipse. For one, it is the longest one in this century. The moon will be visible in a reddish, scarlet hue for over one hour and 43 minutes of the eclipse, which is 40 per cent longer than that of any other eclipse measured in recent times.
So why would the moon appear blood-red during the eclipse? The moon will appear reddish and not black because some of the sun’s light gets bent around earth’s edge and falls on the moon. Colours at the blue end of the spectrum - like violet, blue and green, get scattered by earth’s atmosphere while the longer wavelength, red end of the spectrum gets directed on to the surface of the moon.
An eclipse of the moon occurs when the satellite passes through the earth’s shadow or ‘Umbra.’ There are certain conditions for a lunar eclipse: first, it should be on a full moon night. An eclipse does not occur on every full moon because the moon’s plane is tilted at an angle to that of the earth’s. But there are occasions when they align with the earth in between the sun and the moon.