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Bhubaneswar: People will get a chance to witness two rare celestial events July 27 when the longest eclipse of the century would occur and the Mars will be very close to earth.
The longest lunar eclipse of the century will start from 10.44 pm July 27 when moon will enter the penumbra a faint shadow casted by earth. The eclipse will continue well past midnight until moon comes out of penumbra the next day July 28 early morning at 04.58 am said Subhendu Pattnaik, Deputy Director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium Bhubaneswar.
The partial eclipse which will be visible to naked eyes will start at 11.54 pm when moon starts entering the Umbra : a dark shadow which will slowly move on the surface of moon till it is totally covered at 1.00 am marking the beginning of total lunar eclipse. The total eclipse will last for 2 hours 43 minutes between 01.01 am to 02.43 am July 28. The shadow will start receding from the surface of moon after 2.43am and moon will come out of Umbra completely at 3.50 am. The eclipse will end at 04.58 am. During the total eclipse moon will appear dim and blood red in colour provided the sky is clear.
The partial and total eclipse will be visible to naked eyes in India, as well as in all parts of the state provided sky remains clear.
Besides, Mars will also be closest to earth the same night, when it comes within 0.38496 astronomical units (One astronomical unit = Earth to sun distance which is around 15 crore km.)
The encounter between the Earth and Mars 27th July will be the closest until September 15, 2035. We know that it takes Mars 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun in contrast to 365 days for Earth. Earth orbits closer to the sun than Mars does, and it move in orbit much faster than Mars. Earth overtakes Mars on average about every 780 Earth days. Hence both the planets come closer every 780 Earth days. However, the cycle of Mars’ coming very close to Earth for very best appearances in our skies recurs every 15 to 17 years. Mars will be at the closes distance from us July 27, when Earth passed between the sun and Mars.
But every two year Earth and Mars come close and they will come closer again October 6th 2020 and two years thereafter its closest approach will come December 1, 2022. In 2003, Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. It won’t be that close again until the year 2287
When Mars and Earth are close to each other, Mars appears very bright in our sky. It also makes it easier to see with telescopes or the naked eye. Mars will be very bright this year from about July 7 to September 7. During that period Mars will shine more brilliantly than Jupiter, and it’s not very often that Mars outshines the king planet! It will be visible the whole night.
Look for Mars in the eastern sky at nightfall, highest in the sky near midnight, and in the west towards dawn.
Keep your fingers crossed for a cloudless sky July 27.