What Is So Special About The July 27 ‘Thunder Moon’

Come July 27 and we will witness two major astronomy events in the night sky. First is the Total Lunar Eclipse and second is the Opposition of Mars. Let us talk about the Total Lunar Eclipse.

The Eclipse of July 27 will be the longest eclipse of the century (2000-2100) that will last for 1 hour and 43 minutes. The Super Blue Blood Moon of January this year lasted for 1 hour 16 minutes. That’s the duration of full lunar eclipse, when Earth will completely block out the sunlight falling on the lunar surface. From start to finish, the Moon will take about 4 hours to leave Earth’s dark umbral shadow.

As viewed from Earth, the Earth’s shadow can be imagined as two concentric circles. As the diagram illustrates, the type of lunar eclipse is defined by the path taken by the Moon as it passes through Earth’s shadow. If the moon passes through the outer circle but does not reach the inner circle, it is a penumbral eclipse; if only a portion of the moon passes through the inner circle, it is a partial eclipse; and if entire Moon passes through the inner circle at some point, it is a total eclipse.


For an especially long-lasting total lunar eclipse of 1 hour and 43 minutes to occur, the moon has to pass through the central part of the Earth’s shadow. The previous total lunar eclipse on January 31,  2018, didn’t last as long (1 hour and 16 minutes) because the moon passed to the south of shadow’s center; and the next total lunar eclipse on January 21, 2019, won’t be as long either (1 hour and 2 minutes) because it’ll pass to the north of the shadow’s center.

Map of the Total Lunar Eclipse

The eclipse will be visible from the Earth’s eastern hemisphere (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand). North America won’t see any eclipse as the moon will be below the horizon during the time of eclipse. The timings of the eclipse are as follows:




Partial eclipse begins: 18:24 ( 6:24 p.m.) UTC

Total eclipse begins: 19:30 (7:30 p.m.) UTC

Greatest eclipse: 20:22 (8:22 p.m.) UTC

Total eclipse ends: 21:13 (9:13 p.m.) UTC

Partial eclipse ends: 22:19 (10:19 p.m.) UTC

(UTC is the Coordinated Universal Time, same as GMT, Greenwich Mean Time)

Thunder Moon

The July full moon is known as the Thunder Moon, when the moon is in or near the stars of Sagittarius and Capricornus. These names of full moon gained popularity in native America and American folklore. This full Moon is called the thunder Moon because of the frequency of thunderstorms during this hot, dry month. In India, this day is celebrated as the ‘Guru Purnima’. (Purnima is a Sanskrit word meaning Full Moon).



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