Most of us are well aware of the fact that when the three most important celestial bodies of our life (the sun, moon and earth) align in one straight line, we call that as an eclipse.
Eclipses may be solar or lunar in nature. In fact more often than not, we see partial eclipses. When the earth comes in between the sun and the moon, such that the moon is completely blocked by the earth's shadow, a total lunar eclipse is said to take place.
As expected, this is a very rare phenomenon. As a result of the reddish hues that accompany it, this form of totally eclipsed moon is called the blood moon.
The reddish hue can be attributed to the fact that the earth's atmosphere has tiny particles that scatter colours of lower wavelength (like blue and indigo) and allows the ones like red that are of higher wavelength to pass through.
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The reason why the lunar eclipse that will happen today is all the way more special is because of the fact that this is not just a super moon but also a blue moon. The English idiom 'once in a blue moon' iterates the fact that the occurrence of a blue moon is extremely rare.
So you can imagine how often a blue moon will occur along with a super moon!! Read on to know more on the facts about today's special event.
Super Blue Moon
As per reports given out by NASA, during a super moon, the moon will appear to be 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter. This is because the super moon occurs when the full moon coincides with the moon's closest orbit point (that is also known as the perigee) to the earth.
Considering that it is the second total lunar eclipse of the month, it is safe to say that it is a blue moon. A super moon and a blue moon occurring together are said to be extremely rare phenomena and may be well called as a super blue moon.
As per experts, the total phase of this lunar eclipse will be visible in a large number of areas across the globe. This includes parts of the United States, the north eastern parts of Europe, Russia and Asia. Some areas of the Indian Ocean, the Pacific and Australia are also expected to witness the same.
Calling For The Next
As we all know, an eclipse can never occur alone and a solar eclipse always occurs two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse. This lunar eclipse is the first eclipse of the season with the next one being expected in and around the mid of February. Indeed, we can expect a lot more eclipse as the year unfolds.
Witnessing It At The National Level
As with its global counterparts, Indians will also be able to witness this magnificent event on January 31st. People in the rest of India will witness this event between 5:18 PM IST and 6:21 IST. People at the eastern end (particularly those residing in the northeastern states) will witness the same earlier, between 4:21 PM and 5:18 PM IST. Their western countrymen living in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan will experience the event on January 31st between 6:21 PM and 7:37 PM
Easy To View
The best news for all sky gazers here is the fact that no special binoculars or other devices will be needed to witness this event. It is not at all harmful to witness the same with naked eyes. This will surely prompt more and more people to come in large numbers and make the most of this natural occurrence, which has occurred after 150 years.
The Nation Is Gearing Up In Preparation
In view of today's special event, a number of planetariums across the country have geared up with their preparation for viewing of the same. Special screening events and talks about the same are organized across the country. School-going children are the ones who are particularly excited about the same.
Bidding Adieu To Superstitions
In the Indian context, there are a number of superstitions surrounding solar and lunar eclipses. However, on a positive note, it has been noted that this super blue moon that is scheduled to happen on January 31st, 2018, did not attract much of those among people from diverse social groups. Maybe all of it is an indication of the nation rising up to a more progressive tomorrow.
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