Jul 27, 2018 Human Rights Comments Off on Rare celestial events to occur early Saturday
Taipei, Astronomy buffs will be treated to two significant celestial events, a total lunar eclipse and the opposition of Mars, in the early hours of Saturday, the Central Weather Bureau said Friday.
The lunar eclipse will last between 1:13 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, and most of the process, which will make the moon turn blood-red at one point, will be visible all over Taiwan, the bureau said.
With weather conditions expected to be clear, stargazers can observe the eclipse with the naked eye simply by looking up at the western sky, the bureau suggested.
During the eclipse, the full moon will have a copper hue when it becomes completely obscured by the Earth's shadow between 3:30 a.m. and 5:14 a.m., it said.
In a total lunar eclipse, the Earth is positioned between the sun and the moon, blocking sunlight from what would otherwise be a radiant full moon.
The moon does not completely disappear in a total lunar eclipse, however, because the light reflected from the lunar surface is refracted by the Earth's atmosphere.
The last time such an event took place was on Jan. 31, 2018, and the next total lunar eclipse will not happen until May 26, 2021, the bureau said.
The red planet Mars will also appear at its brightest since 2003 overnight as it comes to closer to Earth than it has been in years during an "opposition," the Taipei Astronomical Museum said.
While the exact time of the opposition fell at 1:13 p.m. Friday, which was invisible due to sunlight, observation conditions will be close to ideal overnight Friday and Saturday and even a few days after the event, according to the museum.
A Mars opposition occurs when the Earth passes between the sun and the red planet and all three are arranged in a nearly straight line, making the two planets also the closest to each other.
The event this time is particularly significant because it is the most significant opposition of the past 15 years, the museum said.
The opposition of Mars takes place approximately every two years, but due to the very elliptical orbit of Mars, the distance between Earth and Mars varies significantly during each encounter, it said.
The next time such a significant opposition will take place in 2035, according to the museum.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel
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