Ministry of Earth Sciences Current Affairs

Century’s longest total lunar eclipse of 1 hour 43 minutes to occur on July 27-28

Union Ministry of Earth Sciences has announced that Century’s (2001 AD to 2100 AD)longest total lunar eclipse of 1 hour 43 minutes will occur on July 27-28, 2018. The entire eclipse will be visible from all parts of India. It will also be visible in region covering Asia, Australia, and Russia – except northern part, Europe, Africa, east of South America and Antarctica. The partial eclipse of Moon will begin on July 27, 2018. Later, Moon will be gradually covered by Earth’s shadow and totality phase will begin on July 28 and the total eclipse will last up to 2h 43m. Then the Moon will start to gradually come out of Earth’s shadow and partial eclipse will end on July 28, 2018.

Longest Total Lunar Eclipse

In this particular eclipse, Moon will be passing through central part of Earth’s umbral shadow. During this time, Moon is located at apogee (i.e. at farthest from the Earth) in its orbit and will be moving at slower speed in its orbit. During this transition phase, it will take longer time for Moon and greater distance of Earth’s umbral shadow to travel, making it longest duration of total eclipse of this century. Such long duration of total lunar eclipses earlier had occurred on July 16, 2000 for totality duration of 1 hour 46 minutes and on June 15, 2011 for totality duration of 1 hour 40 minutes.

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Government to tie up with US and Finland to jointly develop new pollution-forecast system

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is tying up with US and Finland to develop new pollution-forecast system that will help anticipate particulate matter (PM) levels at least two days in advance and at greater resolution. The new system will jointly developed with expertise from Finnish Meteorological Institute and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Background

Currently, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), run out of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, serves as apex forecaster of pollution trends in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad. It generates likely air quality profile for a day in advance, for these cities. SAFAR monitors pollutants like PM1, PM2.5, PM10, NOx (NO, NO2), CO, Ozone, SO2, BC, Methane (CH4), Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), Benzene, VOC’s, Mercury.

Recently, Union Environment Ministry also had released draft of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) that aims to improve air quality monitoring in India by increasing number of pollution monitoring stations and, incorporating it into a pollution forecast system.

New pollution-forecast system

The new system will use a different modelling approach as well as computational techniques from that employed in the SAFAR model. SAFAR will continue to be the backbone for pollution forecast but this new system will use different method of analysis for better resolution and more accurate forecasts.

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