The longest and darkest total lunar eclipse of the century will occur on Wednesday midnight, giving sky enthusiasts all over the country an opportunity to witness the event.

An unusually long lunar eclipse with the moon immersed deeply inside the umbral (darker) shadow of the earth will occur, Nehru Planetarium Director N. Rathnasree said.

“The total phase of this lunar eclipse will last 100 minutes. The last eclipse to exceed this duration was in July 2000,” she said.

The next such eclipse will only take place in 2141.

The total lunar eclipse will begin at 00:52:30 IST and end at 02:32:42. The partial eclipse will begin at 23:52:56 IST and end at 03:32:15.

The eclipse will be visible completely in Africa and Central Asia. It will be visible rising over South America, Western Africa and Europe, and seen setting over Eastern Asia, and Australia, C.B. Devgun from Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators said.

The relatively rare total lunar eclipse will have a magnitude of 1.70, said N. Sri Raghunandan Kumar of Planetary Society of India.

The next lunar eclipse, to be viewed in India, will be in December this year.

Star occultation

Also, a star named 51 Ophiuchi will be occulted during the eclipse.

Sky enthusiasts can witness the whole sequence of the occultation in the zodiacal constellation of Ophiuchus.

At 11:29 p.m., the moon will occult (hide) behind the star 51 Ophiuchi. The star will reappear after 90 minutes at 01:01 a.m. of June 16.

Keywords: lunar eclipse

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