The longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years will take place on the daytime of November 19, Colombo University Physics Department Professor Chandana Jayaratne said.
He said the lunar eclipse will be visible while having the opportunity to see the three brightest planets in the solar system Jupiter, Saturn and Venus in a line in the western skies just after sunset these days.
The eclipse, however, will be visible to a large portion of the world, including America, North Europe, East Asia, Australia, and the Pacific, as well as the east part of India, he said.
Unfortunately, it will not be visible to Sri Lanka. The total duration of the partial eclipse phase is 3 hours and 28 minutes, Prof. Jayaratne said.
He said the eclipse will begin at 11.32 am and end at 5.33 pm in Sri Lanka standard time, with a total duration of six hours and one minute.
The reason for the long duration is that the eclipse is occurring when the Moon is at the apogee – the furthest point Moon gets from Earth in its elliptical orbit, and therefore the slowest speed of the Moon, Prof. Jayaratne said.
“Usually, there are two eclipses in a row with a two week gap. Accordingly, 14 days later, on December 4, there will be a total solar eclipse too, commencing at 10.59 am and ending at 3.07 pm This eclipse too will not be visible to Sri Lanka and will be visible only to Antarctica and countries in parts of southern Africa, including locations in South Africa and Namibia, ” he said.
Eclipses visible in Sri Lanka these days are very rare, he said.
There are two eclipses in 2022 visible to Sri Lanka, one of which is a partial solar eclipse on October 25 followed by a partial lunar eclipse on November 8, Prof. Jayaratne added. (Yohan Perera and Chaturanga Samarawickrama)