LUNAR ECLIPSE COMES TO NIGERIA TODAY
Nigerians are expected to witness two major developments in the sky within 17 days: a partial or rather penumbral lunar eclipse around midnight today and a total solar eclipse on Sunday.
According to reports from Discovery.com and World Time and Date, for the partial lunar eclipse, what viewers can observe is the slight darkening of the moon’s lower part as it passes through the lighter shadow right after it has risen.
The 2013 penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible as well throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia. A report from Discovery.com says: “For observers in Africa, Europe and western Asia, the eclipse will occur in the middle of the night when the moon is high overhead. The partial shading will be visible as the slight reddish dimming of the normally bright full moon.”
According to World Time and Date, the world will experience a solar eclipse on November 3, 2013. Most parts of northern Nigeria, including Kaduna, are expected to experience total solar eclipse unlike other parts of the country like Lagos, which will experience only partial solar eclipse.
The last time Nigeria experienced a total solar eclipse was on March 29, 2006, when most Nigerians watched in amazement as the earth experienced total darkness for a split second.
According to Wikipedia, a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the earth into its umbra (shadow). This can occur only when the sun, earth, and moon are aligned (in ‘syzygy’) exactly, or very closely so, with the earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur in the night of a full moon. A partial lunar eclipse occurs when only a portion of the moon enters the umbra.
Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a certain relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the earth. A lunar eclipse lasts for a few hours, whereas a total solar eclipse lasts for only a few minutes at any given place, due to the smaller size of the moon’s shadow. Also, unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are no brighter (indeed dimmer) than the full moon itself.
The partial eclipse would be visible in most parts of Nigeria between 10.53 p.m. today and 2.48 a.m. October 19, 2013. During the lunar eclipse today, part of the moon will skirt through only the outer edge of the earth’s shadow in what scientists call a penumbral lunar eclipse.