Word of the day

Selenelion – an uncommon type of lunar eclipse when both the sun and the eclipsed moon can be seen at the same time; a lunar eclipse occurring as the moon sets, simultaneously with sunrise; blood moon.

Weather permitting, southerners will see a selenelion at about 8 o’clock tomorrow morning.

Dr Duncan Steel, of Otago’s Centre for Space Science Technology, said this might be figured impossible, given an eclipse occurred when the sun, Earth and moon were all in a straight line.

“If the moon is above the horizon then the sun must surely be below it – but the bending of the rays of light caused by our atmosphere makes it feasible to see both the eclipsed moon and the sun at the same time, so long as you are in the right place.”

The areas of our planet from which this can be experienced were very limited, because the total lunar eclipse must be ongoing at the time of moonset and sunrise.

“In this case, the further south you are in New Zealand the better, with Otago and Southland being favoured.”

In Auckland, the eclipse would still be partial as the moon disappeared below the horizon.

For those in areas from Whanganui to Wellington, there was just a slim chance of glimpsing the totally-eclipsed moon as the sun peeked above the horizon.

The opportunity was longer in the southernmost parts of the country. . . 

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