: Determine ahead of time, the time of moon-rise, and the start times of the partial eclipse
and total eclipse for your location.
This can be easily done from a variety of websites such as www.timeanddate.com. See also the 'table of timings' below.
The time of moon-rise is the time at which the moon just crosses the horizon.
Northern and eastern regions of South Asia will see the partial eclipse phase before totality for
a little while. Moonrise in the more southern and western regions is very close to or after
Note that the end of totality will be followed by the partial eclipse phase, and then by the penumbral eclipse phase.
The dimming of the full moon light due to the moon being in the penumbral phase is not
really discernible by eye, however.
: Determine a good location for viewing the eclipse well ahead of the 31st January 2018.
- There should be an unobstructed view to the East (more precisely East-NorthEast) and as close to the
horizon as possible, in order to see the moon rising as early as possible, with no buildings, trees
or hills obscuring the view.
- Going to a height, such as a hill-top or the terrace of a high building
- The closer to the horizon you can see without obstructions, the earlier you will be able to see the
rising moon. Look up the altitude at which the moon will be visible at the start, maximum and
end of totality on www.timeanddate.com for your location, and ensure that you have an
for a good fraction of totality.
- Those on eastern sea-coasts could use a location on the beach for viewing.
- The place should also be safe, with enough space to accommodate the number of people expected to participate in the eclipse watching.
- The darker the site, the better and more enjoyable it will be for watching the totality phase since the moon is rather faint around and during totality. Areas away from city-light pollution would be
excellent. Those who live in smaller villages and communities may be able to arrange for switching off of street and building lights to minimise the ambient light for the duration of totality which lasts
for about an hour.
Determine the moon rise time for your location on the day that you are checking this (from a website such as timeanddate.com) and check that there is an unobstructed view towards the moon from your chosen location within at most an hour after moon rise.
An alternative would be to use a mobile app such as SkyMap
(for free download), if you have a cell phone that has the ‘accelerometer’ and ‘compass’ hardware features. Download, install and open SkyMap
. Tap on the screen to get the menu and click on ‘Time Travel’. Set the date (31 Jan 2018) and time to 19:00 IST (13:30 UT) which is about midway through totality. Then enter ‘Moon’ in the search box. The app will lead you to pointing the phone to the approximate position of the moon in the sky. There should be no obstructions such as trees, buildings and hills in this direction as seen from your location. Since totality ends at 19:37 IST, if the moon can definitely be seen by about 19:00 IST, that will give about 30minutes of viewing of the ‘Copper Moon’.
On the evening of the eclipse, plan to be at this location for the duration of the eclipse ideally till the beginning of the penumbral
phase at egress.
Hope for a relatively clear night!
|An unobstructed view towards the eastern direction is required to view the
total lunar eclipse. If there are buildings or trees obstructing the view towards the
east, climbing onto the terrace of a building or onto a hill to get a view above these
obstructions is necessary. Sketch by Juny Wilfred
Viewing the moon through binoculars or small telescopes will add to the clarity of what you can see.
Besides, a telescope always attracts people!
Arrange for some refreshments! It is might turn out that you and your fellow skywatchers want to sit
through the partial eclipse phase...