Partial lunar eclipse to thrill stargazers on 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 mission launch

The celestial event will be seen over much of Asia, Africa, eastern parts of South America, as well as western parts of Australia.


                            Partial lunar eclipse to thrill stargazers on 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 mission launch

If clear weather and favorable conditions hold, a partial lunar eclipse will be visible across much of the world tonight.

The celestial event will take place around 10 pm BST in the UK and will also be seen over much of Asia, Africa, eastern parts of South America, as well as western parts of Australia, Daily Mail reports.

As the Sun, Earth, and the moon align themselves one after another, around 60 percent of the lunar surface will be obscured behind the shadow of our planet.

This is a special event for stargazers and space enthusiasts as the date coincides with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 launching its landmark moon mission.

The Sun, the Earth, and the moon must be exactly in line for a lunar eclipse to occur.

A schematic diagram of the shadow cast by Earth. Within the umbra, the central region, the planet totally shields direct sunlight. In contrast, within the penumbra, the outer portion, the sunlight is only partially blocked. (Wikipedia)

 

During the event, the full moon moves into the shadow of the Earth and dims itself, but remains partially visible from the ambient sunlight that passes through the Earth's atmosphere. The eclipse will begin from moonrise, which starts in the UK at approximately 9.07 pm BST and ends at 1.17 am.

The mid-eclipse is expected to occur at 10.30 pm when the umbra will cover about 60 percent of the visible surface of the moon, according to the Royal Astronomical Society. Owing to the powerful atmospheric scattering of blue light hitting the surface of the Earth, people observing from the ground may sometimes witness a red hue across the moon as an after effect.

People gather at the Alster Lake to watch the 'blood moon' eclipse over the northern German city of Hamburg on July 27, 2018. (Photo by Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images)

 

That said, viewing the lunar eclipse will be rather easy. Furthermore, clearer skies and less obscured views will only make the visual more spectacular.

Also, as the lunar eclipse is significantly dimmer than a solar eclipse, no glass or eye protection is needed or recommended to observe the stellar phenomenon. Nonetheless, astronomers recommend seeking areas bereft of tall buildings or light pollution to soak in the event in all its glory.

"You're looking for anywhere that has a low unobstructed horizon, no tall buildings, and trees in the way," said Dr. Morgan Hollis from the Royal Astronomical Society, per Daily Mail.

"Unlike a solar eclipse it's entirely safe to watch a lunar eclipse with the naked eye, so this one is fine, you don't need any special equipment and it should be fairly warm as well, given temperatures recently, it should be good if the weather is clear and the conditions are clear."

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