Clouds play spoilsport with century's longest eclipse

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 28, 2018 10:01 hrs

Mumbai: Nearly 2,000 curious skygazers converged at New Delhi's Nehru Planetarium to witness the century's longest lunar eclipse, but had to return disappointed as clouds completely surrounded the moon as if to conceal it.

The skies turned ember but the so-called "blood moon", when the Earth's natural satellite turns strikingly red, remained elusive.

Enthusiasts anxiously waited until past midnight for clouds to give way to the spectacular event to become visible. Many of them had brought their telescopes.

Several parts of north India, including Delhi, have been witnessing monsoon rains for the past a few days.

The annual weather pattern prevented people from enjoying the spectacular celestial event witnessed across several parts of the world.

The "totality" period, when light from the moon is totally obscured, started at 10:53 pm and lasted for 103 minutes (1 hour and 43 minutes).

The planetarium had organised a "Moon Carnival" and set up special telescopes for people to experience the phenomenon. It had also organised a series of programmes, including shows on astronomy, eclipse and even street plays.

Amateur astronomers were visibly excited and voluntarily explaining the phenomenon to the visitors.

"Nothing was seen because of clouds," N Rathnashree, director of Nehru Planetarium, said.