The last partial lunar eclipse of 2021 is tonight. Where can you see it from and 7 other questions, answered
The last lunar eclipse of 2021, which is actually an 'almost total' lunar eclipse, is tonight, November 19. We answer eight of the most-asked questions on this lunar eclipse.
- Total Shares
Tonight marks the last lunar eclipse of 2021. This lunar eclipse is actually an ‘almost total’ lunar eclipse, and will take place tonight, i.e. November 19.
Here are the eight most-asked questions on lunar eclipse, answered.
1. WHAT IS A LUNAR ECLIPSE AND WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes in between the Sun and the Moon. A lunar eclipse can appear yellow, orange, or brown in colour. This is because different types of dust particles and clouds in the Earth's atmosphere allow different wavelengths to reach the surface of the Moon. The partial lunar eclipse today will appear reddish-brown.
A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the three bodies are aligned in a way that the Moon is partly covered by the Earth's umbra.
2. WHAT TIME WILL THE LUNAR ECLIPSE HAPPEN IN INDIA?
The lunar eclipse was visible between 11.32 am IST and till 5.34 pm IST. The eclipse will not be visible in the night from India.
3. WHERE IN INDIA WAS IT VISIBLE FROM?
The lunar eclipse was only visible from Northeast India, particularly from parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. The penumbral eclipse was visible from parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha for a brief period of time.
On November 19, 2021 (late evening of the 18th in some time zones), the Moon passes into the shadow of the Earth, creating a partial lunar eclipse so deep that it can reasonably be called almost total. Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
4. WHY IS IT THE LONGEST PARTIAL LUNAR ECLIPSE YET?
This rare celestial event will be unusually long, and is long because of two reasons: the Moon’s orbital speed, and the near-totality of the eclipse.
As NASA explains, "The Moon's orbit is not a perfect circle, so sometimes the Moon is closer to the Earth and sometimes it is farther away. This change in distance impacts the Moon’s orbital speed. Closer to the Earth, the Moon moves faster, while further away, it travels more slowly. Right now, the Moon is near its farthest point in its orbit around the Earth and thus, moves slowly through Earth’s shadow. Since this eclipse is almost-total, the Moon spends a longer amount of time in the Earth’s umbra than it would in a ‘more-partial’ eclipse."
NASA said, “This is the longest partial lunar eclipse in a millennium, clocking in at 3 hours, 28 minutes and 23 seconds.”
5. WHEN WAS THE LAST LONGEST LUNAR ECLIPSE?
The last lunar eclipse which was longer the one today, was on February 18, 1440, and lasted for nearly 3 hours, 28 minutes, 46 seconds.
6. WHEN WILL THE NEXT PARTIAL LUNAR ECLIPSE OCCUR?
The next partial lunar eclipse will occur on February 8, 2669 (3 hours, 30 minutes, and 2 seconds). (READ MORE HERE: An Almost Total Lunar Eclipse)
7. WHEN IS THE NEXT LUNAR ECLIPSE?
On November 8, 2022 - that is, around this time next year - the world will see a total lunar eclipse.
8. WHY IS THE MOON REDDISH-BROWN TODAY?
This is the longest lunar eclipse to occur since 1440. During the eclipse, the moon is expected to appear reddish-brown in colour due to Rayleigh scattering.
NASA explained, "During a lunar eclipse, the Moon turns red because the only sunlight reaching the Moon passes through Earth’s atmosphere. The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear. It’s as if all the world’s sunrises and sunsets are projected on to the Moon."
(If you missed seeing this lunar eclipse, fret not, there's one coming up just next year.)