Fri, Feb 07, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Mark calendars for lunar eclipse in October: museum

Staff writer, with CNA

The most exciting celestial event this year will be a lunar eclipse in October, with people in Taiwan expected to be able to see about three hours of the event, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said.

The eclipse, which will begin before the moon is visible at 5:27pm on Oct. 8, will last until around 8:35pm, the museum said.

It will be the most significant lunar eclipse to be seen from Earth since 2011, the museum added.

The moon will appear copper-colored as it becomes fully obscured by the Earth’s shadow between 6:25pm and 7:25pm, it said.

“It will be easy for anybody to catch the show by just looking up sometime around dinner,” museum official Hsu Yi-hung (徐毅宏) said.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the Earth into its shadow. It occurs when the sun, Earth and moon are aligned, with the Earth lined up in the middle.

Unlike solar eclipses, which last just a few minutes, lunar eclipses last for several hours because of the smaller size of the moon.

There is no need for protective eyewear, as lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye, being no brighter than a full moon, the musuem said.

The museum will offer a program later in the year to inform people about how to watch the eclipse.

Meanwhile, Venus will reach a position early this month in which it will be at its brightest as seen from Earth, Hsu said.

The planet’s apparent magnitude could reach minus-4.9, becoming its brightest before 2018, he said.

For those who like meteor showers, conditions for observation should be fair for the Eta Aquariids on May 6, the Orionids on Oct. 2 and the Geminids on Dec. 14, Hsu said.

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