celestial wonders

‘Super blue blood moon’: A rare celestial event awaits skywatchers this Wednesday

The last time this took place in the Indian skies was in December 1982.

A total lunar eclipse is all set to coincide with a “supermoon” on the full moon night this Wednesday. Since it is the second full moon night in January, it is also a blue moon – a rare lunar spectacle that awaits skywatchers in India for the first time in 35 years. In the United States, this last happened 152 years ago.

Moon enthusiasts call such a celestial event a “super blue blood moon” as the moon has a reddish tint at the peak of a total lunar eclipse.

A supermoon is when the moon is at its largest and brightest when seen from earth, because it is as close to the planet as it can be in its orbit. Since the earth is far from the centre of the moon’s elliptical orbit, it offers the moon the chance to be 14% brighter and 7% larger than usual when it is at its “perigee” – the point where it is closest to earth.

This is the third of a “supermoon trilogy” in the last two months – the other two were on December 3 and January 1.

A blue moon – the second of two full moons in the same calendar month – occurs once every two and a half years on an average. This month already had a full moon on January 1.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the entire moon enters the earth’s shadow. “Some sunlight still reaches the moon, but first it goes through earth’s atmosphere,” the National Aeronautics and Space Administration explains on its website. “The atmosphere filters out most of the sun’s blue light, so the moon looks red.”

No one on earth has seen all three of these coincide since December 1982, according to National Geographic.

The moon will reach the perigee of its orbit – a “supermoon” – at 6 am Eastern Time (4.30 pm Indian Standard Time) on January 30. The total lunar eclipse will be visible early Wednesday in western North America, the Pacific Ocean and Eastern Asia, NASA said. In the US, the West Coast will have the best view of the eclipse.

In India, the eclipse will start around 5.18 pm on Wednesday, The Hindu reported. It will be a total eclipse from 6.21 pm to 7.37 pm, and the moon will come out of the shadow completely at around 8.41 pm.

“Weather permitting, eclipse fans in Hawaii will experience the lunar eclipse from start to finish, as will skywatchers in Alaska, Australia and eastern Asia,” NASA said.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

Play

Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.