In a rare incident on February 11, the world witnessed the penumbral eclipse, an occurrence when a comet, a full moon and an eclipse are all visible from earth at the same time.
The first lunar eclipse of 2017 was seen from 4.04 am to moonset at 8.23 am, a shining comet of green colour passed through earth along with a bright, shining full moon, and a lunar eclipse at the same time. The rare event was witnessed in India too.
Earth’s main shadow does not cover the Moon when a lunar penumbral occurs and it can be a bit tough to see it as the shadowed part is only slightly fainter than the rest of the Moon. Now, it will be after 18 years on February 22, 2035 when another penumbral eclipse will happen.
Rajendra Prakash Gupt, superintendent of the government-run Jiwaji Observatory told news agency PTI, “The Earth blocks some of the Sun’s light from directly reaching the Moon’s surface, and partially covers the Moon with the outer part of its shadow, also known as the penumbra.The intensity of moon’s brightness would lessen and it would become hazy during the eclipse.”
The occurring of penumbral eclipse is quite a cosmic experience as it is very rare that the three major celestial events happen together on one night. As the shining green colour comet started coming near earth at the end of last year, Comet 45P has been named as the New Year comet. Though people in India could not catch a glimpse of it but the comet on February 10 and 11 was so close to Earth that one could have seen it through the naked eye.