A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon and casts a shadow on the Moon but this only happens during a full moon when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned where the Earth blocks it during a lunar eclipse. As sunlight hits the moon, it appears reddish-brown or orange in color. There are three types of lunar eclipses – total lunar eclipse, partial lunar eclipse and penumbral lunar eclipse.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s shadow, causing it to turn a reddish-brown color. A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon partially passes through the Earth’s shadow, causing only part of it to appear reddish-brown. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the outer part of the Earth’s shadow, causing it to appear slightly darker than normal.
Lunar eclipses have been observed and recorded for thousands of years and have been a source of wonder and fascination for people around the world. In many cultures, lunar eclipses are associated with spiritual and mystical significance. In Hinduism, for example, it is believed that negative energy is amplified during lunar eclipses and important activities such as cooking or traveling should be avoided during this time.
In modern times, lunar eclipses are observed and studied by astronomers and scientists to understand more about the Earth-Moon system and the effects of the Earth’s atmosphere on the Moon’s surface. They are also an opportunity for skywatchers and astronomy enthusiasts to witness a rare and beautiful celestial phenomenon.
Date and Time:
May’s full moon is called the Flower Moon and is also known as the Milk Moon because of the flowers that bloom at this time of year. This May 5, sky watchers and celestial body lovers are in for a double bonanza with the full flower moon and penumbral lunar eclipse as the moon will reach its full phase at 11:04 pm IST on Friday but what makes this full moon even more special. It will pass through Earth’s penumbral shadow, slightly dimming the northern part of the Moon’s disk.
During a penumbral lunar eclipse, only the outer shadow of our planet (or penumbra) falls on the lunar disk, so observers from Asia, Africa, Australia and most of Europe will see a deep penumbral lunar eclipse peak at 10:52 pm IST. Although visible to the naked eye, it will begin at 8:45 PM IST on Friday and end at 1:02 PM on Saturday.
How to watch:
Viewing a penumbral lunar eclipse can be a fascinating experience, and with the right equipment and conditions, it can be an exciting event to witness. Here are some tips on how to view a penumbral lunar eclipse –
- Find a good viewing spot: The first step to viewing a lunar eclipse is to find a good spot with an unobstructed view of the sky. Find a place away from city lights and pollution, where the sky is clear and dark.
- Check the time: Check the penumbral lunar eclipse time and date in your area. You can find this information on various astronomy websites or apps. Make sure you know when the eclipse begins, peaks, and ends, so you can plan accordingly.
- Bring binoculars or a telescope: While a penumbral lunar eclipse is not as dramatic as a total lunar eclipse, it can still be interesting to observe through binoculars or a telescope. These instruments can help you closely observe subtle changes in color and brightness on the lunar surface and during eclipses.
- Use the camera: You can also capture a penumbral lunar eclipse using a camera. A DSLR camera with a telephoto lens can help you get detailed views of the moon’s surface during an eclipse. Use a tripod to steady your camera and avoid blur in your images.
- Be patient: The lunar eclipse can last for several hours, so be patient and enjoy the show. Take a break to watch the subtle changes on the moon’s surface and return to view the eclipse at various times during the night.
- Protect your eyes: Do not look directly at the sun even during a lunar eclipse. If you plan to view the eclipse with your naked eyes, always use proper eye protection, such as eclipse glasses or solar filters.
Remember that a penumbral lunar eclipse is a subtle phenomenon and you won’t notice any changes in the moon’s appearance if you aren’t paying attention. However, it can still be a beautiful and fascinating sight to observe.