The first eclipse of 2020 is a penumbral eclipse of the Moon late this week. The first of eclipse of the year arrives just a less than a month after the Sun disappeared behind the Moon on December 26 – an event known as an annular eclipse.
What date is the penumbral eclipse of the Moon?
The penumbral eclipse will unfold in the nightside of Earth on Friday, January 10, to Saturday, January 11.
The last time an eclipse of this kind graced the night skies was on February 11, 2017.
And last year, a beautiful Blood Moon eclipse was visible over swathes of the planet, including India, on January 21, 2019.
The total eclipse was followed by an equally breathtaking partial eclipse of the Moon on July 16, 2019.
READ MORE: What is the meaning behind January’s Wolf Moon?
What time will the lunar eclipse be visible over India?
Astronomers expect the lunar eclipse to peak around the same time the Moon reaches full illumination on Friday.
When viewed from Mumbai, the Moon will peak at around 12.51am IST on January 11.
But the eclipsing will begin about two hours earlier, starting around 10.37pm IST on Friday.
Maximum eclipse, or when the Moon is nearest to the centre of Earth’s shadow, will peak around 12.40am IST.
The eclipsing will then end around 2.42am IST when the Moon exits the penumbra.
What is a penumbral eclipse of the Moon?
Lunar eclipses are divided into three categories: total lunar eclipses, partial lunar eclipses and penumbral lunar eclipses.
Partial eclipses take place when the Moon passes through the umbra but without entering it completely.
From Earth, stargazers will see a portion of the Moon turn to shadow before reappearing minutes or hours later.
Out of the three eclipse types, penumbral eclipses are the weakest and least dramatic.
Penumbral eclipses take place in Earth’s penumbral shadow – a region of space that is much lighter when compared to the umbra.
To the untrained eye, a penumbral eclipse might not even unfold at all.