Space agency confirms Nigeria will experience total lunar eclipse, ‘Blood Moon’ today
The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Abuja, through its Centre for Basic Space Science (CBSS), has confirmed that there will be a lunar eclipse over Nigeria today, Monday, January 21, 2019.
The lunar eclipse, which is expected to be total, is expected to begin in the evening of Sunday, January 20 and end on Monday, January 21.Head, Media and Corporate Communications of NASRDA, Dr. Felix Ale, in a statement, said the eclipse would start across Nigeria in the early hours of Monday, January 21 at approximately 3:36 a.m. and reach its maximum at 6:12 a.m., and then end at about 6:51 a.m. The total duration of the occurrence over Nigeria will be three hours 15 minutes.
The lunar eclipse is an event, which occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth and into its shadow. This can only be possible when the Sun, Earth and Moon are exactly or very closely aligned and having the Earth between them.The NASRDA spokesperson said that at about 4:33 a.m., partial eclipse would occur with a partial Moon eclipse where the Moon starts getting red. At exactly 5:41 a.m., a maximum eclipse of the Moon, which may be visible to human sight, will be witnessed while the Moon eclipse is expected to end at 6:43 a.m.
Around the globe, the eclipse is expected to take place across North and South America, Western Europe, North and West Africa and Asia. This will be the last total lunar eclipse to be experienced until 2021.
Spectators can expect the Moon to begin to darken slowly before turning red as it becomes completely caught in Earth’s shade.Sometimes the eclipsed Moon is a deep red colour, almost disappearing from view, and sometimes it can be quite bright.
According to Space.com, January’s full Moon is also known as a ‘wolf moon’, a name deriving from Native American tribes who said wolves would howl outside villages during full moons at the beginning of the year.And the eclipse will occur when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth – making it a supermoon. So, it will appear 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter.
The red effect is due to Earth’s atmosphere. Without an atmosphere, the Moon would appear black or even totally invisible when it was within Earth’s shadow.
But because Earth’s atmosphere extends about 50 miles up, during a total eclipse, although the Moon is in shadow, there is a ring around our planet through which the Sun’s rays still pass.
Unlike the other wavelengths, the Sun’s red light is scattered much less by air allowing it to travel through the atmosphere where other colours are lost. Finally, a process of refraction bends it as it leaves the atmosphere on the opposite side, channelling it on to the Moon’s surface.Lunar eclipses always happen at a full Moon as this is when it moves behind the Earth and into line with the Earth and Sun but most of the time, no eclipse takes place because the Moon’s orbit is slightly tilted so it normally passes a little above or below the Earth’s shadow.
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