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  • Ajay Talwar
    Hello Fellow Astronuts, February 9th, I.Y.A., Sonepat, As the sun set on the western horizon, simultaneously the light crimson Moon rose in the serene blue sky
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2009
      Hello Fellow Astronuts,

      February 9th, I.Y.A., Sonepat,

      As the sun set on the western horizon, simultaneously the
      light crimson Moon rose in the serene blue sky on the eastern horizon over the
      Yamuna, as can only happen on a full moon night. 9th February,
      however was a special full moon, the deepest Penumbral Lunar Eclipse of 2009
      scheduled to occur just after moonrise. Three chasers from Eclipse Chasers
      Athenaeum (Ajay Talwar, Vikrant Narang, Pankaj Sharma) had gathered on the terrace of DPS Sonepat to watch the moonrise and
      subsequently get eclipsed. They were ready with their telescope, cameras and
      internet connection to webcast the Lunar Eclipse live to the members of Eclipse
      Chasers Athenaeum living all over India.

      A Penumbral Lunar
      Eclipse is just a subtle shading of the full moon, as the Moon just enters the
      penumbra part of the Earth�s shadow. This kind of eclipse is different from a
      Total Lunar Eclipse, where the Moon goes fiery red in the middle of the
      eclipse. At Sonepat, a few minutes after the moonrise, the Lunar Eclipse began,
      but was only discernable after about 30 minutes had passed. A subtle shading on
      the northern part of the Moon barely visible to the naked eye, but when
      captured through a camera, at the right exposure is dramatically different. It
      was Sheridan Williams (An eclipse chaser from UK) who first noticed the grey
      shading while watching the webcast sitting right at home. The shading grew more
      and more till the maximum eclipse at 20:08 IST.

      Another demonstration team of 10 astronomers from SPACE had
      gathered at Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi to project the webcast on a large
      screen in the lawns of Teen Murti Bhawan. While the Observation team had
      selected a place away from the big city lights to capture the subtle eclipse in
      better conditions, the demonstration team had selected Nehru Planetarium and was
      equipped to show the Lunar Eclipse to a large number of people. It was an
      eclipse observation open for all public. While the astrologers went about their
      usual way, predicting disasters for all and sundry, on television channels,
      about 50 members of public and amateur astronomers, gathered at Nehru
      Planetarium to see the eclipse and celebrate the nature�s spectacle with
      distribution of sweets. Astronomers know that it�s a long way to go before all
      the eclipse superstitions, myths and misconceptions start breaking up in the
      minds of a common man. Astronomers are a patient lot and ready to take one step
      at a time. Media can certainly help dispelling these evil myths concerning
      eclipses.

      Weather turned cloudy, and slowly it became overcast, but
      not before the maximum eclipse and not before all the Eclipse Chasers had
      managed to show the eclipse to all at Nehru Planetarium and also photographed it.

      This was the second of six eclipses (Solar & Lunar)
      scheduled to occur in the year 2009. Next one is another Penumbral Lunar
      Eclipse on July 7th, 2009 and thereafter the Greatest Total Solar
      Eclipse of the 21st Century on July 22nd, 2009.

      Eclispe Chasers Athenaeum has been formed to facilitate
      information about eclipses, webcasting eclipses for members and all other
      eclipse related things. For more information visit www.eclipsechasers.org

      Ajay Talwar




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