Earlier on Saturday, a comet, a full moon and an eclipse were all visible on earth at the same time in a rare scientific phenomenon – the penumbral eclipse. During the first lunar eclipse of 2017, which was visible in India on Saturday morning from 4.04 am to moonset at 8.23 am, a green shining comet passed through earth along with a bright, shining full moon, and a lunar eclipse at the same time.
During this penumbral lunar eclipse, the Earth’s main shadow does not cover the Moon. As the Earth’s shadow (umbra) misses the Moon during a penumbral lunar eclipse, there are no other locations on Earth where the Moon appears partially or totally eclipsed during this event. A penumbral lunar eclipse can be a bit hard to see as the shadowed part is only slightly fainter than the rest of the Moon.
The Earth blocks some of the Sun’s light from directly reaching the Moon’s surface, and partially covers the Moon with the outer part of its shadow, also known as the penumbra, Rajendra Prakash Gupt, superintendent of the government-run Jiwaji Observatory told news agency PTI. The intensity of moon’s brightness would lessen and it would become hazy during the eclipse, he said. The next eclipse in this series will happen on February 22, 2035.
This event is important because three major celestial events do not occur together very often. Three major celestial events on one night doesn’t happen very often. The Comet 45P is has been named as the New Year comet because the comet started coming towards the Earth at the end of 2016. This comet, also known as the blue comet, will be close enough to Earth to be seen by the naked eye on February 10 and 11. While people in India can no longer see the phenomenon, people in US and UK may still be able to catch a glimpse if there are clear skies.