Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weather play foul to the Star Gazers of Nepal during Total Lunar Eclipse on June 15/16, 2011!

The first Total Lunar Eclipse of 2011 brought great excitement among the amateur astronomers of Nepal.observe this historical eclipse,Nepal Astronomical Society(NASO), Kathmandu and Nepali Association for Astronomical Mission(NAAM) Birgunj,Nepal had organized doouble stationed observation of TLE from Nepal.before, NASO has spread the news among the nepalese through different media. " We have been busy answering the questions from the media as an live on FM radios from different parts of Nepal", said the Rishi Shah,Academician of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and President of NASO. We have tried to dissiminate the right information to every corner of Nepal through TVs, Radios and newspaper", explained Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, Secretary of NASO.

Through the observation from Kathmandu failed due to rain, Observers at other end had enjoyed the moments. "It was amazing to observe the moon passing deeply in the shadow of the Earth with in hrs,more interestingly to see the changes in the colour of the moon with orange to red and to black" explained Mr. Milan Rai, president of Nepali Association for Astronomical Mission(NAAM)

As we know that our solar system is a family of planets and their satellites which revolving around the sun on their orbit, so some time they come between a straight line while revolving around the sun. When the earth comes between the sun and the moon and they all are in straight path,the earth obstruct the light reaching to the moon causing shadow on it is known as lunar eclipse. Mr Rai further added, "In Birgunj the moon observation night was started from 8:00pm to the morning 7:00 am. According to local time ,the partial eclipse was begain at 12:04 a.m and total eclipse was begain at 1:06 a.m and total eclipse ends at 2:45 a.m morning at birgunj. After on wards we couldn’t recored the phases of eclipse of cloudy weather".

See you on in December, 2011!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


The first rare and longest total lunar eclipse of 2011 occurs on Wednesday 15 June 2011. Sky-gazers with clear skies could view this eclipse also from parts of Southeast Asia, eastern Australia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, South America and Antarctica.

For us, the eclipse will begin at 11:08 PM local time when the moon enters the faint portion (penumbra) of the earth’s shadow. At about an hour later at 00:08 AM after midnight the moons begins to slide into the inky part of the shadow of earth (umbra). Although the penumbra would be slightly discerned, the umbra will be fully visible to eyes when the moon becomes deeply ruddy dark till 03:48 AM in the morning. The total lunar eclipse becomes then obviously evident, when moon is immersed fully into murky umbral shadow of earth from 01:07 AM to 02:47 AM (for 100 minutes). Weather permitting eclipse-chasers could notice the dark and then the light shadow leaving the moon and thus ending the total lunar eclipse at 04:48 AM few hours before the dawn. The moon rises at 06:40 PM on 15 June 2011, while it sets at 05:20 AM in the next morning. The sunrise and sunset on 15 June are at 05:08 AM and 07:01PM respectively. The Sun rises at 05:08 AM and sets at 07:01 PM in the evening on 16 June 2011.

The total length of this lunar eclipse would measure to about five hours and fourty minutes. As the full moon would glide through the middle of umbra, the total lunar eclipse phase would last unusually long for about one hundred minutes just shy of seven minutes for it to become the absolute maximum total lunar eclipse. The moon is approximately 372 thousand kilometers away during the eclipse.

Consequently this total lunar eclipse is relatively long after the ones that have happened before on 16 July 1935 (totality lasting for 101 minutes), 06 July 1982 (totality lasting for 107 minutes) and 16 July 2000 (totality lasting for 107 minutes). The next total lunar eclipse of such lengthy duration will take place on 27 July 2018 with totality lasting for 106 minutes. The moon is moving from zodiacal constellation Scorpius (Brishak) towards Sagittarius (Dhanu) passing predominantly through the constellation Ophiuchus (Bhujak Dhari) during the various phases of the eclipse. The Sun is in zodiacal constellation Taurus (Brish) on 15 June.

The next normal total lunar eclipse can be witnessed on 10 December 2011 by us. The last such total eclipse was visible on 04 March 2007 from Kathmandu.

Lunar eclipses occur only at full moon. Furthermore, the average inclination of lunar orbit to the ecliptic plane is five degrees. However, at every full moon we do not experience eclipse, mainly because the orbit of the moon is inclined in relation to the plane in which earth travels around the Sun and intersect at two points called descending (Ketu) and ascending (Rahu) nodes. The eclipse occurs when the moon appears near or at these nodal points. The orbit of our moon around the earth is completed in approximately 27.3 days. The sunlight with longer wavelengths (red) after passing through earth’s atmosphere that has reached the moon contributes to the faint reddish glow on moon even when moon is totally eclipsed.

Such regular cosmic spectacle caused by celestial movements of the Sun, earth and its moon have had enthralled but also frightened people from different cultures and triggered superstitious beliefs that had even started battles with tragic consequences. However, we would request the eclipse-watchers to enjoy and understand this marvelous celestial event without any kind of fear.

Contact Details:
Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO),P.O.Box: 3459, Ekantakuna, Lalitpur, Nepal,