New Delhi: The last lunar eclipse of the year 2011 was witnessed across the world on Saturday. The next eclipse will take place three years from now in April 2014.
The rare event, during which the moon will turn copper-red as the Earth's shadow falls on it, has had astronomy enthusiasts excited particularly because the eclipse takes place soon after sunset.
Public observatories have been organised in the capital. The first is being arranged by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Delhi (AAAD) and Nehru Planetarium at the Teen Murti Bhawan lawns, while the second will be held by Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) at India Gate lawns. Both commenced by 5 pm.
"Some of India's biggest and best telescopes will be set up for the public to enjoy the second and last eclipse of the year," a statement by AAAD said.
"A direct webcast of the event will also be available on our website - www.aaadelhi.org from 5.30 pm for those who cannot make it to this public watch," it added.
A total lunar eclipse is quite rare and occurs when the Earth casts its shadow over the moon but instead of getting dark, the moon remains illuminated due to indirect sunlight, which gives it a dramatic shade of red.
With an expected duration of 51 minutes, the eclipse will begin around 5.03 pm in India.
SPACE will be hosting school kids from across the city who would be getting an opportunity to observe, experiment and photograph the eclipse.
"To break the myth of not consuming food during an eclipse, we will distribute sweets to people present during the observation," SPACE said in a statement.
Apart from India, the eclipse will also be visible in parts of Europe, East Africa, Asia, Australia, the Pacific and North America.
A Solar Eclipse occurred on November 25 making it the last of this year. The eclipse was visible in the region covering the southern tip of Africa, Antarctica, Tasmania and New Zealand.
It was not seen in India. That was the last of the four solar eclipses this year, the others occurring on January 4, June 1 and July 1.