Coming once in decades, moon, supermoon and total lunar eclipse will all be rolled up on Wednesday, January 31. The last time this phenomenon occurred in 1982 and according to researchers, the next won't occur till 2037.
Lunar eclipses are not uncommon, but the coincidence of Wednesday's blood moon with other astronomical events is what makes this event special First, because it is a 'blue moon' - that means it is the second full moon to occur in a month, a researcher said.
The total lunar eclipse will be visible everywhere in India from 5.20pm on Wednesday. The main eclipse (all three phenomena together) would start around 6.25pm after sunset and this can be seen in the eastern sky as the moon would have just risen by then. It would be over in an hour's time by 7.25 pm.
Researchers point that Indian superstitious beliefs like not eating anything during a total lunar eclipse, have no scientific basis whatsoever. Supermoon, means that it will be closer to the Earth than usual, but the difference in size is hardly noticeable. A total lunar eclipse is when earth comes exactly between the sun and the moon and the earth's shadow falls on the moon.
During a total lunar eclipse, some of the sun's rays get refracted through the earth's atmosphere and strike the moon, which thereby takes on a low brown red glow. Therefore, it alternatively also referred to as blood moon. The moon will be closest to Earth on Tuesday, 2,23,000 kms as compared to average 3,59,000.
'A slight sliver of the moon first gets covered in what is called the umbra, the total shadow, and slowly spreads for several minutes before receding," a release from BM Birla Science Centre explained the occurrence.