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Lunar eclipse to be highlight for astronomy buffs in 2014

TAIPEI -- The most exciting celestial event in 2014 will be a lunar eclipse in October, with local skywatchers expected to be treated to about three hours of the spectacle, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said.

According to the museum, the eclipse, which will begin before the moon is visible at 5:27 p.m. on Oct. 8, will last until around 8:35 p.m. It will be the most significant lunar eclipse that can be seen from earth since 2011, the museum said.

The moon will appear copper as it becomes fully obscured by the Earth's shadow between 6:25 p.m. and 7:25 pm., said the museum.

“It is easy for anybody to catch the show by just looking up sometime around dinner,” said museum official Hsu Yi-hung.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the earth into its shadow. It occurs when the sun, earth, and moon are aligned, with the Earth in the middle.

Unlike solar eclipses which lasts for only a few minutes, lunar eclipses lasts for several hours because of the smaller size of the moon's shadow.

And there's no need to wear eye protective gear as lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye, because they are no brighter than a full moon.

Hsu added that the museum will hold an event to offer the public expert advice on how to watch the eclipse.

In addition to the eclipse, Venus will reach a position in early February in which it will the brightest as seen on Earth, Hsu said.

The planet's apparent magnitude could reach -4.9, becoming its brightest before 2018, he said.

For those who like meteor showers, conditions for observation should be fair for the Eta Aquariids on May 6, the Orionids on Oct. 21, and the Geminids on Dec. 14, Hsu said.

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