Sat, Sep 09, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Museum lists next year’s astronomical highlights

Staff writer, with CNA

The most exciting celestial events in the nation next year will be two total lunar eclipses and three meteor showers, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said yesterday.

Astronomy buffs can plan for a total lunar eclipse on Jan. 31, with the moon becoming a copper hue as it is fully obscured by the Earth’s shadow from 9:30pm to 10:06pm, the museum said.

The eclipse will begin at 6:50pm and last until about 12:10am the next day, it said.

During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth is positioned between the sun and the moon, blocking sunlight from a normally radiant full moon. As a result, stargazers see the full moon turn a reddish color, the museum said.

However, the moon does not completely disappear in a total lunar eclipse because the Earth’s atmosphere refracts light into the shadow cone.

Astronomical enthusiasts in Taiwan will only be able to partially see the second total lunar eclipse, which will occur during the early hours of July 28.

The moon will change color from 4:22am to 5:14am, but it will be more difficult to discern at those times, the museum said.

Taiwan can also expect to see meteor showers in January, August and December, it added.

The Quadrantid meteor shower on Jan. 4, the Perseids on Aug. 13 and the Geminids on Dec. 14 are all expected to produce more than 100 “shooting stars” per hour, the museum said.

The most promising of the three meteor showers is the Perseids, because of the minimal influence of moonlight at that time, it said.

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