Lunar eclipse this week
BARBADIANS WILL BE looking to the heavens early tomorrow morning and the rest of this week as two celestial bodies put on spectacular shows.
The first is the red moon phenomenon which will start around 1 a.m. when the earth passes between the sun and the moon. The other is a continued close up view of the planet Mars as it comes the closest to earth in six years, 57 million miles away.
Ricardo Small, president and director of the board of the Barbados Astronomical Society explained that the lunar eclipse of the moon, set to be seen by millions across the world, will have a dark red or burgundy appearance.
That, he said, is because the light will be refracted from the day side of the earth through the atmosphere and will strike the moon. Such eclipses of the moon tend to occur about five to six times in a two- to three-year period. A previous one earlier this year was not witnessed in Barbados but by those residing in countries on the pacific side of the world.
Loyal stargazers and some of the curious looking upward in a south easterly direction will be rewarded from around 1 a.m. when the eclipse begins. Fifty-five minutes later there will be a noticeable dimming of the moon and by 3:36 a.m. the entire moon will appear blood red.
Small said that entire eclipse should last until 5:32 a.m. and as a result some residents here will miss part since the moon would have already set by then. However, those on the east coast and in central United States will witness the full eclipse from beginning to end.
In relation to the Mars, Small said the recently re-opened Observatory in Clapham will be accommodating tours from Friday and Saturday for sky watchers to view the Red Planet and note some of its features close up.
There is another eclipse of the moon scheduled to take place in late September and a partial eclipse in early October. (AC)