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People's Daily Online>>Science

Stargazers hope for haze-free eclipse

By Li Ying (Global Times)

09:27, December 06, 2011

If weather permits, a total lunar eclipse will be visible in Beijing Saturday, during which a "reddish moon" can be observed for 50 minutes, according to the Beijing Planetarium.

At 19:33 on Saturday, as the Moon will enter Earth's penumbra, or partial shadow, we will see it dim and begin to turn a reddish color. The total lunar eclipse will start at 22:06 and last until 22:57, Beijing Planetarium said.

The previous total lunar eclipse, which Beijing was an ideal place to observe, occurred on January 10, 2001. The next opportunity to watch the entire process of a total lunar eclipse will be on January 31, 2018, said Zhu Jin, curator of the Planetarium.

However, whether the event can be observed clearly also depends on the weather conditions.

"Given the terrible haze of today and the quite serious light pollution in the city, I guess I may be disappointed on Saturday," said Yu Xiao, 29, an amateur stargazer.

"The weather forecast says that Saturday night will be clear, and if it is so, people can view the lunar eclipse from their balconies. They should look for the moon in the southeast," noted Zhu.

Zhu also suggests that Saturday will be good timing for astronomy fans to photograph the night sky, as they may catch the moment in which meteors and the reddish Moon appear at the same time.

The Geminid meteor shower peaks on December 13 and 14, and the Ursids meteor shower will be visible on December 23.

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