By Amina Nazarli
People living in Europe, Africa and West Asia will soon observe lunar eclipse, an amazing natural phenomenon.
The first lunar eclipse of 2017 will occur on February 11, according to the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS).
Lunar eclipse can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can occur only the night of a full moon.
Notably, the lunar eclipse will start at 02:34 Baku time, will be at maximum at 04:43 and end at 06:51. Best time to observe this beautiful natural phenomenon is the early morning.
However, scientists also warned that after the lunar eclipse, 45R comet which is called "New Year's comet" will appear. It will approach Earth at a maximum close distance.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the earth into its shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and moon are aligned exactly, or are very close to each other with the earth in the middle. So, a lunar eclipse can only occur at nights when the Moon in its full shape. The type and length of an eclipse depends upon the moon's location relative to its orbital nodes.
Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a certain relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the earth.
A lunar eclipse lasts for a few hours, whereas a total solar eclipse lasts only for a few minutes at any given place, due to the smaller size of the moon's shadow. Also, unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view at without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are not brighter than the full moon itself.