Lunar eclipse today

our correspondent

Patna, Dec. 9: Residents, get ready for the longest, total lunar eclipse of the year, starting 7.15pm on Saturday.

The total eclipse will continue for more than an hour till 8.25pm. Although Srikrishna Science Centre has made arrangements for the residents to watch the lunar eclipse, project co-ordinator Anurag Kumar said people can also see the eclipse with the naked eye from their homes.

The moon will be in the Earth's shadow from around 5.03pm.

Anurag told The Telegraph: "The lunar eclipse will start at 5.03pm and continue till 10.57pm. Though the shadow of the lunar eclipse is not as sharp as that of a solar eclipse, it will be quite a spectacle." He added that there are two stages of a lunar eclipse ' penumbra and umbra.

Anurag said: "The beginning of the lunar eclipse will witness penumbra, which refers to a phase when a portion of sunlight is obscured by the Earth, till 6.15pm. Then umbra, which refers to darkest portion of the shadow when the sunlight will be completely blocked by the Earth, will start. This stage will continue till 9.40pm. Total lunar eclipse can be viewed from 7.15 to around 8.25pm. Penumbra will again start at 9.40pm and end at 10.57pm."

Anurag said a telescope has been kept at Srikrishna Science Centre for the residents to witness the total lunar eclipse till 8.30pm.

He added: "It is on a full moon night, when the sun, Earth and moon all come in one line, that a lunar eclipse occurs. Earth comes in between the sun and the moon, casting its shadow on the moon, resulting in the lunar eclipse." Anurag, however, added that every full moon night does not mean a lunar eclipse, as the path of the moon's rotation is slightly tilted. During lunar eclipse, the path of the Earth's rotation intersects with the moon's rotation.

This year, two lunar eclipses were marked on the calendar. The first one occurred on June 15 and the second one will be witnessed tomorrow. Saturday's will be the longer eclipse, so keep your evening free for a rare lunar spectacle.