Taiwan in line for ‘significant’ eclipse later this year: CWB

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Apr 19, 2014 - Page 5

A series of celestial events to come this year and next year include a number of total lunar eclipses, with one in October regarded as especially promising for local skywatchers, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said.

While there was a lot of local media interest in the lunar eclipse on Tuesday — which was not visible in Taiwan because it was daytime here — observation conditions for the Oct. 8 eclipse could be ideal, said Cheng Chen-fong (鄭振豐), an official at the bureau’s astronomical observatory.

According to the Taipei Astronomical Museum, the October eclipse, which will begin at 5:27pm, before the moon has risen, will last until about 8:35pm. It will be the most significant lunar eclipse visible from Earth since 2011, the museum said.

The moon will take on a coppery appearance as it becomes fully obscured by the Earth’s shadow between 6:25pm and 7:25pm, the museum said.

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

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth casts its shadow on the moon, blocking sunlight from directly reaching the satellite. It occurs when the sun, Earth and moon are aligned, with Earth in the middle.

Unlike solar eclipses, which last for only a few minutes, lunar eclipses last for several hours because the moon is much smaller than the shadow that the Earth creates.

There is no need to wear protective eyewear, as lunar eclipses do not require observers to look at the sun.

Two more lunar eclipses will occur next year on April 4 and Sept. 28, with the former to be visible in Taiwan, the bureau said.