Friday's full moon night is called Kartik Sukla Poornima, Sakimana Punhi
KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 18
The longest partial lunar eclipse since the 15th century is can be witnessed this week, on Friday.
This partial eclipse is almost a total lunar eclipse as Earth's shadow will cover as much as 97 % of the moon.
While people in North and South America, Australia, and parts of Europe and Asia will catch this partial eclipse perfectly, those in other side of Europe, Asia, Australia, North/West Africa, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Arctic will be able to see at least some parts of the eclipse.
The eclipse will begin at 11:47 on November 19 (NT) when Earth's penumbra will cover the moon. The partial eclipse begins at 13:03 and will reach its maximum eclipse at 14:47. The partial eclipse will slowly fade and end at around 16:32 while the penumbral eclipse ends at 17:58.
The eclipse will last more than six hours long (six hours two minutes) which is unusually long for a partial eclipse. Partial eclipse has not been this long since the 15th century and it won't be again until February 8, 2669. Hence, it is definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
Eclipse in Kathmandu
For Kathmandu, it would mean that the eclipse will be seen from 17:11 when the moon rises till 17:48 when the eclipse ends, giving the sky grazers a duration of 37 minutes to catch the eclipse.
However, it might be difficult to distinguish as the penumbral lunar eclipse (as it is from Kathmandu) will only be a little bit fainter than the rest of the Moon.
The maximum magnitude in Kathmandu will be 0.592 (the actual magnitude being 0.97) which will be at 17:14. To view this moment, one will have to go to a high point from where horizon is clearly and unobstructedly visible and look East-northeast.
The coming full moon night is referred to as Kartik Sukla Poornima in Hindu panchanga. In lunar calendar this Poornima will mark the beginning of the month Mangsir.
Every year, the Kartik Sukla Poornima marks the ending of Charturmas (a period of four month) when the Lord Vishnu goes into hibernation inside the Chhir Sagar.
This event is known as Sakimana Punhi among Newa people.
In the evening on this day, people gather around local temples and make art of, for example, Lord Ganesh, or pagodas out of grains and rotis or swaris, and play different musical instruments and sing bhajans till late night.
People in Kathmandu Valley mostly celebrate Sakimana Punhi as a minor festivital. They eat root of arum spinach (saki, from where the name is derived), sweet potato, and fried grains, among others on this day.
The celebration is a way to express gratitude towards 'Mother Earth' for taking care of the folks as they offer their harvest to their Mother.
Compiled by Kriti Joshi