A total lunar eclipse takes place tonight and this is a particularly important celestial phenomena. The reason for the eclipse is that the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned perfectly, and the Earth completely blocks off sunlight towards its satellite. However, due to the refraction of some sunlight caused due to Earth’s atmosphere, the Moon appears to be red in colour.
So why is the Lunar Eclipse a significant one and when will India witness the next total lunar eclipse? We explain below.
Lunar Eclipse July 2018: Date and Timings for India
The total lunar eclipse starts at 1 am IST on July 28. However, the partial eclipse will begin around 11.44 pm on July 27 itself. The lunar eclipse will be visible in all of India, according to NASA. Observers will be able to see the lunar eclipse without the help of any special telescope, but the cloudy skies mean that one might miss the chance this time.
Lunar Eclipse July 2018: Why is this one significant?
This is the longest lunar eclipse in the century and nearly 1 hour, 43 minutes in duration. The next eclipse which will be this long will only take place on June 26, 2029. But it will only be visible in America, Europe, Middle-East and Africa, according to NASA’s charts. India will not be able to witness that eclipse.
The other point to keep in mind is that the longest total lunar eclipse also takes place when the Moon is at its farthest point from Earth in the orbit. It means the Moon will appear significantly smaller in size, compared to the Super Blue Blood Moon of January 31, when it was the closer to Earth and appeared much bigger in size.
A total lunar eclipse is also when the Moon turns red. The reason as explained is the scattering of indirect sunlight by the Earth’s atmosphere. Remember in a lunar eclipse, the Earth is completely blocking sunlight from reaching the Moon. But the indirect sunlight that does reach appears red in colour, because our atmosphere only allows the red light to pass.
This is because red light has a longer wavelength and is not filtered out, while the rest of the colours from spectrum in the sunlight get filtered by the atmosphere. So not only will this be the longest total lunar eclipse, this is also when the Moon turns red, which is certainly be a sight to behold.
Lunar Eclipse: When will India witness the next total lunar eclipse?
The wait will be long for the next total lunar eclipse in India. There will be a total lunar eclipse on 7, September 2025, according to NASA. All of India will be able to witness the event. The next total lunar eclipse will be on June 26, 2029 which will be for a total of one hour and 42 minutes. This one will not be visible in India.
Finally, India will get to see a total lunar eclipse on December 31, 2028, which will last for 1 hour and 11 minutes. That lunar eclipse takes place nearly ten years after this one. 2018 has been a good year for India in terms of witnessing lunar eclipses, and the one tonight is definitely worth checking out.