NEW DELHI: Sky gazers and photo enthusiasts are making a beeline for the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences perched at an altitude of 2,450 metres here to witness the lunar delight on January 31- a blue moon, blood moon and a super moon. January 31 will witness the first total lunar eclipse of 2018. Such an important astronomical event is taking place after 150 years.
The celestial event will be seen from many countries including India, Russia, Australia, China and Thailand. Institute Director Dr. Anil Pandey said, On the 31st, the moon will be on the closer orbit to the earth. During this phase the size of the moon appears nearly seven per cent larger and its brightness is also higher. The skies of Nainital will have the most clear and brilliant view of the eclipse. Not only is the atmosphere smog free but after the recent snowfall the skies have become clearer offering an uninterrupted view.
Space observers and photo enthusiasts are equally excited about the event. On Wednesday night there will be a full moon, which is the second full moon in the same month. Such an event is known as the blue moon. As the eclipse will occur at sunset, this will cause the moon to appear reddish. Such a moon is known as blood moon. The moon will also be closer to the earth on the day than usual as it is in a shorter orbit. Moon during this phase is known as super moon.
Thus after a gap of 150 years, blue moon, blood moon and super moon are set to occur on the same time. This event will be worth a watch! In Delhi the eclipse will begin at 5.53 PM. It will last for a total of 3 hours, 45 minutes during which there will be a total eclipse of one minute 32 seconds starting at 6.59 PM. The eclipse will end at 9.38 PM. The observatory is one of the best equipped and best placed observatories in Asia.