Tue, Dec 06, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Cold weather, total lunar eclipse this weekend

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Passengers stay dry while sitting on a bus in Taipei yesterday amid a continued drop in temperature. According to the Central Weather -Bureau, the temperature in northern Taiwan will drop to 11°C on Thursday because of a cold air mass.

Photo: CNA

The mercury is expected to drop in the northern parts of the country later this week as another cold air mass is forecast to arrive on Thursday, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday.

The bureau said daytime temperatures began rising yesterday after the cold air mass that lingered over the nation at the weekend weakened. However, chances of showers also rose nationwide as clouds in the south moved north.

Residents in the northern coast and mountainous areas in central and southern Taiwan could experience heavy rain, it said.

The bureau said rainy weather in northern and eastern regions would continue until the weekend because of the cold air mass, with nighttime temperatures dropping as low as 11°C.

Meanwhile, people in Taiwan will have a chance to see another total lunar eclipse on Saturday, the bureau said.

The first total lunar eclipse this year was on June 16.

Cheng Chen-fong (鄭振豐), a specialist at the bureau’s Astronomical Observatory, said this time was different because people would actually witness the complete process of the total lunar eclipse, which would last six hours. The last time such a phenomenon was observed in Taiwan was on July 16, 2000, he said, adding that it would not occur again until Jan. 31, 2018.

The bureau said the moon would start moving into the earth’s penumbra at 7:31pm.

First contact, which occurs when the earth’s penumbra makes contact with the outer limb of the moon, would result in a missing corner on the right side of the moon. The phenomenon would occur at 8:45pm.

Cheng said the corner would slowly expand until the moon completely enters the earth’s umbra, adding that a total lunar eclipse would be visible by around 10:06pm.

The total eclipse will last until 10:58pm, when the moon will start leaving the earth’s umbra and be completely out of it by 1:31am. The bureau also said the eclipse would be visible to the naked eye, although observers were advised to use binoculars to get a better view.

As rainy weather is forecast for northern and eastern regions as well as mountainous areas in central and southern Taiwan this weekend, residents in the plains areas of central and southern Taiwan have a better chance of witnessing the lunar eclipse.

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