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A total lunar eclipse & Mars close to earth

Total lunar eclipse on July 28, 2018

A highlight for stargazing was the total lunar eclipse on 28, July 2018. The eclipse was visible in a clear night sky from Kathu in South Africa. However, the total lunar eclipse on July 28, 2018, started in the evening in the Northern Cape at 19:14. It was exactly the right time after sunset for watching the magic.

Interesting in this lunar eclipse was that planet Mars had the nearest position to the moon for 15 years. In addition, Mars had the nearest distance to earth as well.  This constellation happens only for one time during 25000 years. That reason makes Mars a bright shiny object on the sky.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth takes a position between the moon and the sun, simply spoken. Lunar eclipses are not so rare as expected. It was already the second this year. The next lunar eclipse will occur on January 21, 2019.

When the eclipse started a shade moved over the moon disk until the moon was fully covered. That took around one hour. During this time the moon changed its colour into a deep red. For the next hour, the moon kept its dark red colour. In between this time the lunar eclipse reached its maximum.

The deep dark red gives the moon a mystical glance. From now on the shadow moved out of the moon and the colour changed back to usual yellow.

The cool clean air was perfect for a stunning eclipse. In addition, light pollution isn’t so strong in Kathu. That makes the planet Mars easily to identify as well. The night sky magic finished after 6 hours at 1:30 the next morning. The duration was the longest for a total lunar eclipse in this century. With 103 minutes it was a long enjoyable lunar eclipse.

Total Solar Eclipse on March 9, 2016

A Total solar eclipse on March 9, 2016

A total solar eclipse on March 9, 2016, occurred in Indonesia. Unfortunately, the eclipse is visible only as a partial eclipse from Tuban, East Java, Indonesia. Accordingly, the occultation in Tuban was 85% at maximum. That’s enough to still turn the day into twilight and to get a great experience of a total solar eclipse.

In fact, the eclipse starts in East Indonesia at sunrise over Sumatra. The end was at sunset north of the Hawaiian Islands. However, the last eclipse I could follow was from Khartoum, Sudan. It was the annular solar eclipse on January 15, 2010.

The shaded area began in the West Indian Ocean and ends in the North Pacific finally. When in the west the day began, the day in the east was already over and it became night.

Almost all islands of Indonesia like Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi will experience the totality on this day. A few islands in Micronesia will experience the totality on this day as well. So far, on Java Island and the rest of Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Japan will experience a partial solar eclipse only. Moreover, most of Australia, Hawaii, and western Alaska will experience a partial solar eclipse as well.

Fortunately, March 9, 2016, was a holiday in Indonesia. So, Indonesia could follow the occurrence on an off day. The eclipse occurred in the morning time. I worried about a clear sky and a good view. Because in March the rainy season in East Java is not yet over and the weather prediction wasn’t good. Indeed, I hope to have a lot of luck with the weather on this day.

The sunrise started in a clear and unclouded sky. Slowly but surly, the moon moved in front of the sun. Until the maximum occultation the daylight changed like during a sunset. While the day turned to night, the birds stopped chirping during the twilight time. Later on the daylight changed again, but now like during a sunrise. Unfortunately, in the last 40 minutes of the eclipse, the sky becomes quickly cloudy and the view unsettled. Overall an exciting moment definitively, with a spectacular eclipse.


Total solar eclipse March 9, 2016

Common information (Time = UT):

Maximum phase: 1.046

The beginning of the partial eclipse: 23h 19m 6s
The beginning of the total eclipse: 0h 15m 41s
Maximum phase: 1h 56m 57s
Ending of the total eclipse: 3h 38m 8s
Ending of the partial eclipse: 4h 34m 39s

Maximum eclipse:
Longitude: 148° 51.6′ E;  Latitude: 10° 6.6′ N

ET-UT = +8

Local circumstances (Time = UT + 7.0h):

Partial
9. March 2016 AD
Maximum phase: 0.875

The beginning of the partial eclipse: 6h 20m 53s
Maximum phase: 7h 25m 9s
Ending of the partial eclipse: 8h 38m 35s

Position angles:
The beginning of the partial eclipse: 260.1°
Ending of the partial eclipse: 60.7°