Published: Wed, January 02, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

Probe poised for moon landing

Probe poised for moon landing

Stargazers are in for a real treat this January with an astounding Super Blood Moon eclipse.

While some experts call it by the collective name, a super blood wolf moon eclipse actually refers to three concurrent cosmic events.

And even more exciting, it's the first of a number of notable astronomical events to arrive in 2019.

The Eta Aquarids was created by the dusty debris left behind by Halley's Comet, which flew by Earth in 1986, and although the famous comet won't be entering our solar system again until 2061, its remnants appear in our skies each year.

The year will also witness several other planetary occurrences, kicking off with a partial solar eclipse on January 6, including a rare transit of Mercury on November 11 and ending with an annular solar eclipse on December 26. The last trek took place in 2016, and for the first time in 10 years, the small planet was visible from Earth.

The term "blood" stems from the rusty brownish-red color the moon turns during a total lunar eclipse.

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The sun will be totally eclipsed by the moon for 4 minutes and 33 seconds on 2 July, 2019.

While humans have visited the near side, or the visible side of the moon multiple times, the dark side of the moon has long fascinated humanity. But the China National Space Administration has not yet disclosed when the landing will occur.

Looking forward, the eventual Chang'e 5 is being planned as the grande finale for China's push to the Moon, and the spacecraft that makes that trip will not only land on the Moon like its predecessors but also return to Earth with samples of the lunar surface.

NASA explains: "This happens for the exact same reason our sunrises and sunsets here on Earth are brilliant shades of pinks and oranges". On the 6th, the moon will pass between the sun and the Earth, which will result in a partial solar eclipse, according to NASA. "Since this is the third of four full moons in this season, it is known as a blue moon". This lunar condition is known as a "supermoon". These two variables make it look 14 percent bigger and 30 percent more brilliant than it typically does, as per Space.com.

In case you're in North America, you can hope to see the Super Blood Wolf Moon on January 20.

The best time to see this rare celestial event in the United Kingdom will reportedly be January 21, 2019 at 5.13am. It will be night time in this part of the world, and hence this eclipse is also set to elude India.

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