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November 22, 2011

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Fine view expected for full lunar eclipse

SHANGHAI residents will be able to see the best view of a total lunar eclipse in 10 years on December 10, experts said yesterday.

The eclipse, best viewed without any devices, will begin about 7:30pm and end six hours later at 1:30am.

"If you can see the moon, you don't need a telescope to watch the whole process of the lunar eclipse," said Tang Haiming, an official with the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory on suburban Sheshan Hill.

Local residents were able to see a previous full lunar eclipse on January 10, 2001, while the next total lunar eclipse won't come until 2018. Local residents missed a lunar eclipse earlier this year, on June 15, as it was hidden by rain clouds over the city.

The moon will go into full eclipse at 10:05pm and start to emerge again at 10:55pm, with totality lasting about 50 minutes.

The weather is likely to be fine that night with a clear late-autumn sky to provide an ideal atmosphere for people's observation, said Zhao Zhiheng, a Chinese astronomical educator.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon line up precisely, with the Earth casting a shadow on the moon. The moon is still visible because residual light is deflected toward it by the atmosphere.

As most of this refracted light is in the red part of the spectrum, the moon is observed with a kind of red glow.


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