Partial lunar eclipse Thursday night
gazers can look forward to a partial lunar eclipse that will take
place Thursday and will be first of the three eclipses of 2013,
officials said Wednesday.
Earth's shadow will cover one percent of the moon and will just
touch the moon's limb. The moon
Several celestial events are lined up for sky gazers during
April-May, beginning with Thursday's partial lunar eclipse - the
only visible lunar eclipse of the year in India.
The eclipse begins at 11.32 p.m. on April 25 and ends at 03.43
a.m. on April 26. According to the Planetary Society of India (PSI),
people can noticeably witness darkening of the moon's disk between
The eclipse is coinciding with rare meteor showers, and it will be
followed by conjunction of Saturn with the moon April 26.
The eclipse, which will be visible in Asia, Australia, Africa,
Europe and Antarctica, is the first visible in India since Dec 10,
Though three more lunar eclipses will occur this year, including
penumbral lunar eclipse May 2, and a solar eclipse May 10, none of
these will be visible in India, said N. Raghunnandan Kumar,
PSI is one of the leading organisations working for promotion of
space science in the country.
People will get the next opportunity to see a lunar eclipse only
on Oct 8, 2014. However, this total eclipse will only be partially
visible in India and that too for a few minutes.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth, in course of its orbit
around the sun, comes between the moon and the sun in such a way
that the moon is hidden in the shadow cast by the earth.
Thursday's lunar eclipse is coinciding with rare meteor showers.
The PSI said the Lyrid meteor showers, which began on April 16,
can be seen with naked eye from pollution-free clear skies away
from the city lights. Kumar said it would be a treat for star
gazers as 5-18 meteors would be seen zipping across the sky every
The annual meteor shower called Eta Aquarids will peak May 6.
According to a report of the International Meteor Organisation
(IMO), one can best see the shower from May 6 to May 12. It
expects the number of meteors to be between 40 and 85 per hour at
The lunar eclipse will be immediately followed by a conjunction of
Saturn with the moon on April 26. Saturn will appear in the night
sky like a non-twinkling star, closer to the moon.
People without any technical aid would be able to spot Saturn,
which will be below the moon on the night of April 25 and above it
Another celestial event awaits star gazers April 28 when Saturn
will be at its closest approach to the earth and its face will be
fully illuminated by the sun.
"Saturn will be directly opposite to the sun from our viewpoint on
the earth. It will be closest, biggest and brightest it can get in
year 2013 on April 28," Kumar said.
The PSI has announced Saturn observation campaign India 2013 from
April 28 to Oct 17 to create awareness about Saturn. It has
invited schools, organisers of summer camps and other
organisations to join the campaign.