Total eclipse of the moon to be visible in early hours

Clear skies for most of Ireland as nature reveals one of its most spectacular sights

A  file photo taken on October 8th, 2014 shows a lunar eclipse as seen from Tokyo. A total eclipse of the moon will occur in the early hours of Monday morning and Irish skywatchers will have an excellent chance of seeing it. Photograph: Yoshikazu TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images.

A file photo taken on October 8th, 2014 shows a lunar eclipse as seen from Tokyo. A total eclipse of the moon will occur in the early hours of Monday morning and Irish skywatchers will have an excellent chance of seeing it. Photograph: Yoshikazu TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images.

 

A total eclipse of the moon will occur in the early hours of Monday morning and Irish skywatchers will have an excellent chance of seeing it.

The moon will be totally covered by the shadow of the Earth for more than an hour. The sight will be all the more spectacular as clear or mostly clear skies are forecast for most of the country.

In addition the moon will be high up in the south-west sky and therefore further away from light pollution.

It will also appear to be 7 per cent bigger in the sky, known as a “supermoon”, because of its closer proximity to the Earth.

The eclipse will begin at 1.11am and end at 6.22am. The moon will enter a total eclipse from 3.11am to 4.23am. The moment of greatest eclipse will be at 3.49am.

A total eclipse of the moon occurs when the Earth casts the whole of its shadow on the moon.

There has not been a total eclipse of the moon in Ireland since 2010 and the next one is on July 27th, 2018, but it is at sunset so it will be more difficult to see.

The next comparable event will not be until the early hours of the morning of December 20th, 2029.

Astronomy Ireland is holding an eclipse watch between 2am and 6am at its offices in the Rosemount Business Park in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

Astronomy Ireland magazine editor David Moore said: “If you don’t like the prospect of getting up in the middle of the night to see this amazing spectacle of the full Moon dropping in brightness by nearly a million times, our calculations show that you will have to wait until December 20th 2029 to see the next total eclipse of the moon from Ireland in an evening sky.

“We are advising every working person in Ireland to book a day’s holiday for Monday so they can stay up late Sunday night and watch the entire eclipse.”

The Meath Astronomy Club will hold a charity BBQ on Sunday night at Rathbeggan lakes starting at 8.45pm and ending at 6.30am at which people are invited attend to watch the eclipse.

The total eclipse of the moon will be visible across the whole of western Europe and West Africa along with the whole of the Americas. The best place to watch it will be off the coast of Brazil.

It will not be the only significant astronomical event on Monday. Nasa has called a press conference for Monday afternoon. The space agency has said it will reveal details of a “major science finding from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars”.

The presence of Lujendra Ojha, a scientist with the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, at the press conference suggests that Nasa will announce that it has found flowing water on the surface of Mars.

Such a discovery would confound the belief that Mars is too cold and inert to allow for flowing water on the surface.

The presence of flowing water would also suggest that Mars would have a much greater chance of harbouring microbial life.