Uranus lunar eclipse, shooting stars highlights of 2022: museum

Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) A total lunar eclipse with a rare occultation with Uranus on Nov. 8 and two meteor showers on May 6 and Dec. 14 are just some of the cosmic wonders visible from Taiwan in 2022, according to the Taipei Astronomical Museum.

Weather permitting, observation conditions for the eclipse should be excellent, with astronomy buffs able to catch the entire process in which the moon turns blood-red at one point, the museum said.

The eclipse will take place soon after the moon rises at 5:02 pm and last until 8:49 pm The museum added that the full moon will have a copper hue when it becomes completely obscured by the Earth’s shadow between 6:16 pm and 7 :42 pm

In a total lunar eclipse, the Earth is positioned between the sun and the moon, blocking sunlight from what would otherwise be a radiant full moon.

However, the moon does not completely disappear in a total lunar eclipse because of the refraction of sunlight by the Earth’s atmosphere into the shadow cone.

What is more special about the lunar eclipse this time is that it will be accompanied by an occultation of Uranus, meaning that the moon will pass in front of the planet, according to the museum.

The rare phenomenon, which can be captured through binoculars, will take place around 7:05 pm-7:53 pm on Nov. 8.

The last time a total lunar eclipse coinciding with any kind of occultation of planets visible from Taiwan was before astronomical records began in the 17th century, the museum said.

For shooting star chasers, the best events for them will be the Eta Aquarids on May 6 and the Geminids on Dec.14, according to the museum.

Up to 50 Eta Aquarids per hour could flash through the radiant in the northern sky, the museum said, adding that observation conditions would be best after midnight thanks to smaller moon interference.

The Eta Aquarids, known for their brightness and high speed, happen when the Earth encounters dusty debris from Halley’s Comet.

For the Geminids– one of the three most prolific meteor showers of the year along with the Quadrantids in January and the Perseids in August– about 150 shooting stars per hour are estimated before midnight, the museum said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)

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