Sky watchers in the Eastern Hemisphere of Earth will witness an unusually long and the darkest Total Lunar Eclipse of this century on June 15, 2011 when the moon will appear 10,000 to 100,000 times dimmer. The event will be the first of the two lunar eclipses in 2011 and the third of all eclipses that occur throughout the year. It is a relatively rare central eclipse where the moon passes in front of the center of the Earth’s dark shadow slowly assuming a coppery red color.
This lunar eclipse can be seen in its entirety from western China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Arabia and the eastern half of Africa. Scientists estimate the total phase of the eclipse will last for 50 to 100 minutes. The next total lunar eclipse of exceptional length will be on July 27, 2018 while the next darkest lunar eclipse will be visible after 47 years from now on, on June 6, 2058 .
It would really be interesting to see how dark the eclipse of June 15 would be because this year, in addition to the ashes from Iceland Grimsvotn volcano, the earth’s atmosphere is still contaminated with ashes of last year’s eruption of volcano Eyjafjallajokull.
According to Karachi Astronomers Society the rare moon treat can be viewed in Pakistan at around 23:23 to 03:02 Pakistan Standard Time. In the last 100 years, only three other eclipses have rivaled the duration of totality of this eclipse, according to SPACE.com’s sky watching columnist Joe Rao. The last lunar eclipse of similar length occurred on July 16, 2000 and lasted 107 minutes.
So are you ready to stare and explore summer Milky Way during the darkest night of this June?