Science

Blood Moon dazzles, was longest lunar eclipse of 21st century

Blood Moon dazzles, was longest lunar eclipse of 21st century”

FULL moons and lunar eclipses have always been associated with various legends, myths and dark apocalyptic theories. "We should have a coppery red tint on the moon with Mars the "Red Planet" just next to it, very bright and with a slight orange hue itself". The period when the moon was completely in earth's shadow, known as the "totality", lasted for about an hour and 43 minutes.

The thick monsoon clouds over the city, however, restricted a clear view of the eclipse, disappointing several photography enthusiasts.

The eclipse won't be visible to viewers in North America, except via webcasts. The total phase will last for 107 minutes from 02:30 a.m.to 04:13 a.m. "It's just lovely. It's well worth it". Hundreds of people watched at a fort overlooking the iconic Copacabana beach and Sugarloaf Mountain. The long duration of this eclipse is partly due to the fact that the moon will make a near-central passage through Earth's umbra - the darkest, most central part of the shadow. "The colour change happens because Earth's atmosphere acts as both a lens and a scattering medium for the sun's light", Umair explained.

The red moon phenomenon, also called a Blood Moon or Luna Rossa, is possible because, while the moon is in total shadow, some light from the sun passes through the Earth's atmosphere and is bent toward the moon. In addition to its length, the astronomical event was unusual because Mars was exceptionally close to Earth at the time - 57.6 million kilometres (35.2 million miles) - making it visible to the naked eye.

The Full Eclipse ended at 5.13am and the Partial Eclipse ended at 6.19am where it was last seen in the Brunei skies.

For thousands of years, man has looked to the heavens for omens of doom, victory and joy.

According to some Hindu beliefs, celestial bodies such as the sun and moon emit negative energy during an eclipse and so some temples in India were closed to minimize any disturbance.

"For those new to astronomy, the evening may prove to be a mesmerising introduction to core scientific principles", said Dr Daniel Cunnama, science engagement astronomer at the SAAO. "Kenyans had the chance to see other planets like Mars, Jupiter and Saturn without the need of specialised equipment", Ms Susan Murabana, the Travelling Telescope Africa MD, told the Saturday Nation.



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