'Take a day off work or school' to see total eclipse of the Moon, says Astronomy Ireland founder

The founder of Astronomy Ireland has urged people to take "a day off work or school" to see the best lunar eclipse that will be seen from Ireland for the next 14 years.

'Take a day off work or school' to see total eclipse of the Moon, says Astronomy Ireland founder

The founder of Astronomy Ireland has urged people to take "a day off work or school" to see the best lunar eclipse that will be seen from Ireland for the next 14 years.

According to the Editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine, David Moore, the total eclipse of the Moon this weekend will be the best that will be seen from Ireland until 2032.

Mr Moore said: "There will be other total lunar eclipses between 2019 and 2032 but they will happen as the Moon sets or rises from Ireland thus spoiling the view.

"This Total Lunar Eclipse on the morning of Monday, January 21st, will be entirely seen in Irish skies from start to finish so we are recommending everyone take a day off work or school and watch this amazing spectacle of nature when the brilliant Full Moon turns to a dim 'Blood Moon' for 62 minutes."

The Total eclipse runs for 62 minutes from 4.41am to 5.43am on Monday morning when the Moon will be high in the West as seen from all of Ireland.

A 'Blood Moon' is when the Full Moon has dimmed down by a factor of nearly one million times and turned a reddish colour as it is lit up by light bent into the Earth's shadow by all the world's sunsets and sunrises, according to Mr Moore.

He said: "Irish people will not see an eclipse this good again until October 2032 so we want everyone to stay up late, or get up early and witness one of the most spectacular sights in nature."

The Moon will also slip into, and out of, the Earth's shadow and this partial phase happens both before totality, from 3.34am to 4.41am, and after totality from 5.43am to 6.51am.

Mr Moore said: "We also want to hear reports from Irish people, especially if weather is only clear in some places and not over the entire country. Photographs are extremely welcome also.

"Reports and photos will be published in a special 'eclipse issue' of Astronomy Ireland magazine and archived in the National Library of Ireland, and the British Library, for all time. Email: magazine@astronomy.ie."

HOW ECLIPSES HAPPEN

An eclipse of the Moon is, in essence, a simple affair. The Earth's shadow extends out into space well beyond the Moon but there is normally nothing for it to fall on so we do not see it.

Roughly twice a year the Moon can line up in almost exactly a straight line with the Sun and Earth and then the Earth's shadow is seen as the Moon moves slowly through the Earth's shadow - in this case the total event takes over three hours, from 3:34am to 6:51am.

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