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India prepares for a rare celestial event--A super, blood, blue Moon

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On January 31st starting at around 17:18 IST, India will witness a rare celestial event-- a total lunar eclipse coinciding with a supermoon and a blue moon.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth comes in between the sun and the moon, casting its shadow on the moon. This is called a total lunar eclipse.

A total lunar eclipse is also called a blood moon since antiquity, because of the reddish brown hue rendered during the eclipse. As sunlight passes through earth’s atmosphere the white light is broken down into its constituent colors, and red light is scattered onto the Moon’s surface, giving it the reddish brown hue observed during a total lunar eclipse, and earning it the name
blood moon.

This time however, the blood moon also coincides with the supermoon phenomenon, which occurs when the full moon coincides with the perigee of the Moon, which is closest distance the Moon reaches to the Earth on its elliptical orbit. During a supermoon, the Moon generally appears slightly larger in the night sky.

The total lunar eclipse will also coincide with the blue moon- a name given to the second full moon of a month in the English calendar. This makes the event quite rare, with the last such blood moon and blue moon occuring occurring 36 years ago on December 30, 1982.

On the 31st, in India, the eclipse will start at around 17:18. The moon will be completely eclipse by around 18:20 and the total eclipse will last till around 19:37. The moon will become completely visible again by around 20:40, with the eclipse lasting for about 1 hour and 16 minutes.