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Total lunar eclipse tomorrow


NEW DELHI (PTI): The last eclipse of the year, a total lunar eclipse, will occur on Saturday, giving sky lovers all over the country an opportunity to witness the celestial event.

The total lunar eclipse with the Moon immersed deeply inside the umbral (darker) shadow of the Earth will occur tomorrow, Nehru Planetarium Director N Rathnasree said.

The crisp winter night will offer a very good chance for an excellent view of the event, Arvind Paranjpye of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) said.

The entire event will last for nearly five hours, he said.

The maximum eclipse will be at 20:01:50 IST. The eclipse begins at 5.02 PM and ends at 11.02 PM. The noticeable Umbra phase begins at 6.15 PM and ends at 9.48 PM. The total phase begins at 7.36 PM and ends at 8.28 PM.

The entire event is visible from Asia and Australia.

Observers throughout Europe and Africa will miss the early eclipse phases because they occur before moon rise. It will also not be visible from South America or Antarctica, C B Devgun from Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) said.

This eclipse will be longest (at 52 mins) till the year 2018, N Raghunandan Kumar of Planetary Society of India said.

India is one of the best places to see this celestial event because the eclipse will be visible in its various phases (start to end), he said.

People would be able to witness moon entering shadow of earth and leaving as the moon's disk gradually darkens and returns slowly to its full brightness.

A similar opportunity to witness a total lunar eclipse from start to end (in various phases) will only come on 27/28th July, 2018 for people in and around India, he added.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth in course of its orbit around the Sun, comes between the Moon and Sun in such a way that Moon is hidden in the shadow cast by Earth.

This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned in a straight line.

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