A partial lunar eclipse is set to captivate sky-watchers in West Bengal and various parts of Asia, Europe, Africa, and Russia on Saturday night. Astrophysicist Debi Prasad Duari has said that this awe-inspiring cosmic phenomenon will extend into the early hours of October 29.
Highlighting the significance of this event, Duari explains, "On the night of October 28, a partial lunar eclipse will grace the skies, offering people in India, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Russia a remarkable opportunity to witness this celestial spectacle." During this time, the moon will pass through the Earth's shadow, resulting in a stunning visual experience for observers.
A lunar eclipse unfolds in two distinct stages as the moon gradually enters the Earth's shadow. The initial phase, known as the penumbral eclipse, occurs when the moon enters a partially shadowed region. Throughout this stage, the moon retains some illumination, although the change in brightness may not be easily discernible. Subsequently, the moon proceeds to partially enter the dark portion of the Earth's shadow, referred to as the umbral lunar eclipse. This phase is widely regarded as the actual eclipse by most individuals due to its more noticeable visual impact.
The penumbral eclipse is scheduled to commence at approximately 11:31 pm IST on October 28. However, the more prominent umbral eclipse, which offers a captivating sight, will commence in the early hours of October 29, around 1:05 am IST. The eclipse will reach its maximum intensity at approximately 1:44 am and conclude by 2:23 am. During this time, observers can anticipate a partial obscuration of the lunar disc, with its magnitude estimated at around 0.12.
This upcoming lunar eclipse follows a recent annular solar eclipse, which enchanted viewers predominantly in North and South America. The mesmerising "ring of fire" was visible across a vast expanse of the western hemisphere. Unfortunately, this cosmic spectacle was not experienced by individuals in India and Asia due to it occurring during the night.
Notably, the solar eclipse coincided with the New Moon day, signifying the onset of Navratri, a significant festival celebrated in various parts of India as the commencement of the Durga Puja Festival. In West Bengal and its surrounding regions, the day held special significance as Mahalaya, when people paid homage to their ancestors in preparation for the much-anticipated Durga Puja Festival.