11 July 2024

The century’s longest lunar eclipse will be seen in all parts of Thailand during July 27-28 between 00.14-6.10 am.


Dr Sarun Posayachinda, director of the National Institute of Astronomical Research said today that three astronomical phenomena would take place on the night of Asalha Bucha Day, starting from the night of July 27 until the early hours of July 28.


The total phase of the eclipse – called the totality – spans one hour and 43 minutes.  That’s in contrast to the shortest total lunar eclipse of this century, which occurred on April 4, 2015 and lasted 4 minutes and 48 seconds.


A partial eclipse precedes and follows the total phase of eclipse, each time lasting 1 hour and 6 minutes.  So, from start to finish, the moon spends nearly 4 hours crossing within Earth’s dark umbral shadow.


The eclipse will happen on the same night that Earth is passing between the sun and Mars, placing Mars at opposition in our sky.  In one of the sky’s wonderful coincidences, the Mars opposition happens on July 27 too.  It is not just any  Mars opposition, but the best Mars opposition since 2003.


Mars is very bright and red throughout July and August this year, but the eclipse night will be a very special night.


Although the longest eclipse, Dr Sarun said the red moon will be smaller than usual because it will be at the farthest point from the Earth this year – at 406,086 kilometre from the Earth.


He noted that the eclipse night would be the best opportunity to observe Mars as Mars will move closer to the Earth until July 31 when it is about 57.6 million kilometres from Earth – the closest in 15 years – from normal average distance of 225 million kilometres.