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Monday, June 13, 2011

Lunar eclipse on June 15 to be visible in India

One of the longest total lunar eclipses will occur on the night of June 15 2011 (Wednesday) and be visible everywhere in India.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth's shadow falls on the moon.

This can only happen on a full moon night when the sun is on one side of the earth and the moon on the opposite side. If these three celestial bodies get aligned in straight line on a single plane, a lunar eclipse occurs.

The sunlight when blocked by the earth will not fall on a full moon, leading to to a lunar eclipse. What will make this particular eclipse appear more sinister and spooky is the intensity of shadow that will be cast on the moon.

Weather permitting, India and certain other parts of the globe will be witnessing the longest total lunar eclipse in more than a decade on the night of June 15. It starts at 12.52 a.m. and will last nearly 100 minutes.

Some scientists are christening it the 'Darkest eclipse of the century'.

The special nature of this eclipse is that as the moon will be passing through almost the central part of the earth's shadow, it will become darker compared to other eclipses, Debiprosad Duari, Director, Research and Academics, M.P. Birla Planetarium, said here on Sunday.

The eclipse will be best visible, almost near the zenith, from everywhere in India. The event will also be seen from the eastern half of Africa, the Middle East, central Asia and west Australia.

Observers throughout Europe will miss the early stages of the eclipse because it will occur before moonrise.

Calcuttans will witness the first total lunar eclipse of the year on the night of June 15. It will also be one of the longest and darkest lunar eclipses in recent times.

The earth will start casting its shadow on the moon around 11.50pm. The total eclipse will begin at 12.52am and last till 2.32am. The partial eclipse will end around 3.50am on June 16.

At 100 minutes, the total eclipse will last longer than the average lunar eclipse.

The next total lunar eclipse, to be visible from India, will be on December 10, 2011. It will last only 25 minutes.

After the December 10 eclipse, the city of Calcutta will next see a total lunar eclipse on January 31, 2018.

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