This is an occasion that is equally important for sky watchers and religious enthusiasts. Lunar and solar eclipses are very important in religious mythology in Hinduism and other oriental religions and so when it comes people take precautions, some fast for the whole day while others pray for the whole duration of the eclipse.
It’s your date with the 21st century’s third shortest partial lunar eclipse visible tonight. The event that has caused a frenzy of sorts across the globe, especially among the sky watchers, is being considered as a golden opportunity for the astro enthusiasts across the country to witness the celestial event taking place right before their naked eyes.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the shadow of the earth. For this to happen, the sun, earth and moon must be closely aligned with the moon that is located farthest from the sun
Tonight’s lunar eclipse would be the first out the total three lunar eclipses scheduled to take place in 2013. The last lunar eclipse was visible on Nov. 28, 2012. While tonight’s is a partial lunar eclipse, the other two lunar eclipses of 2013 taking place on May 25 (visible from the Americas and Africa) and Oct. 18 (Visible from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia) are Penumbral Lunar Eclipses. Tonight will be the last time Earth’s dark umbral shadow touches the moon’s face until the total lunar eclipse of April 15, 2014.
Based in the reading, NASA has predicted that the shortest eclipse of the 21st century will take place on February 13, 2082, a partial eclipse of the moon lasting only 25.5 minutes. NASA data has also indicated that, on September 28, 2034, the second-shortest partial eclipse will last for 26.7 minutes. While on third shortest Lunar eclipse will take place tonight and partial lunar eclipse will last for 27 minutes, making it the third-shortest lunar eclipse of this century.
Giving the details about the Lunar eclipse, the General Secretary of the Planetary Society of India, N Sri Raghunandan Kumar said: A tiny sliver of the Moon will be covered by the Earth’s umbral shadow at maximum of the partial lunar eclipse. This is the third shortest partial eclipse of the Moon for the 21st century, lasting just 27 minutes. The lunar eclipse in various phases will begin at 11:32 PM on Thursday night and end at 03:43 AM on April 26. The noticeable Umbra phase will begin at 1:22 AM and end at 1:53 AM. Middle of eclipse, or when it is maximum, will occur at 1:37 AM.
The eclipse that would be visible across Indian, can also be watched in Australia, Asia (except North East) Africa, Europe and Antarctica. Unlike an eclipse of the sun, protective eye equipment to observe a lunar eclipse is not required and can watched with naked eyes.
To make this Lunar eclipse even, more memorable, a lot of organizations including the Planetary Society of India and Science City and Gujarat Council of Science & Technology (GUJCOST)and Science Popularization Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE), are organizing a lot of events so as to create awareness about science and encourage citizens to take interest in astronomy.
The lunar eclipse apart being important scientifically also has religious association. Due to the eclipse, the entry into the shrine of Lord Venkateswara at nearby Tirumala would be closed for 17 hours from 5 PM tomorrow to 10 AM on Friday.
According to the reports, the shrine would be closed an hour before sunset tomorrow and opened early on Friday. The priests would then conduct ‘cleansing’ of the ancient shrine, followed by pre-dawn rituals, including recitation of Suprabatham and Archana rituals.