Nagpur: Raman Science Centre & Planetarium, Nagpur has organised a special observation programme on 31 January for the astronomy lovers at 6 pm. During this programme the visitors will have an opportunity to enjoy the Lunar Eclipse. The visitors will be taken to the actual observation of the eclipse through 11 inches Schmidt Cassegrain telescope. The sky observation programme is weather permitted.
The interested visitors and students in particular may take the advantage of this opportunity in large numbers. Normal entry fee of science centre only will be applicable. The timings for this observation will be from 7 pm to 8 pm. All interested visitors are requested to register their names during office hours (10.30 am to 5.30 pm). For registration contact 0712-2735800, 9503111273, 9850312044.
During the early evening hours of 31 January, there will be a full Moon, a total lunar eclipse, a blue moon and a supermoon – all at the same time. None of these things is really all that unusual by itself. What is rare is that they’re happening all together on one day.
Like Earth, half the Moon is illuminated by the sun at any one time. The Moon orbits around Earth and as a result we see different amounts of the lit-up side is visible. A full Moon is when its entire lit-up side visible. This occurs every 29.5 days, when the Moon is directly opposite the sun relative to Earth. January 31 will be the next full Moon in the lunar cycle. The Moon’s orbit is tilted by about 5 degrees relative to Earth’s orbit. So, most of the time the Moon ends up a little above or below the path Earth follows as it revolves around the sun. But twice in each lunar cycle, the Moon does cross into the earth’s orbital plane. If that crossing corresponds to a full Moon, the Moon will pass into Earth’s shadow, resulting in a total lunar eclipse. Since the Moon needs to be behind Earth, relative to the sun, a lunar eclipse can only happen on a full Moon. The Moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular; meaning its distance from Earth varies as it goes through one cycle. The closest point in its orbit is called the perigee. A full Moon that happens near perigee is called a supermoon by some. This happened with the full Moon earlier this month on January 1 and now again on January 31. Its proximity makes it seem a little bit bigger and brighter than usual, but that’s the extent of its effects on Earth. A supermoon usually takes place every one to two years, when the full moon coincides with its closest point to Earth during its monthly orbit.