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Should Expecting Moms Worry Lunar Eclipse 2020? Precautions, Dates, Why So Special

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Created by Parentune Support
Updated on Jan 08, 2020

Should Expecting Moms Worry Lunar Eclipse 2020 Precautions Dates Why So Special
Reviewed by Expert panel

Eclipse of the two most popular celestial bodies on earth is an amazing event to observe. But these events have also attracted the creative imagination of mankind for long, giving birth to many myths and misconceptions. I am sincerely hoping for the cloud cover to lift on 10th Jan. The lunar eclipse of 10 January is special for many reasons and will be a sight to remember for a long time. A total of four lunar eclipses (Chandra Grahan) are scheduled for 2020, out of which three will be visible from Asia and India.

If you are a first-time mom or expecting a baby soon, I’m sure there are many instructions flowing from the elderly for the occasion. Mostly about staying indoors and food etc. Why not try to address each of them scientifically, and know more about this amazing celestial activity? So here we try to answer all your questions related to the present lunar eclipse, and why you must not miss it.

What Exactly is Lunar Eclipse(Chandra Grahan 2020)?

A lunar eclipse happens when the sun, earth and moon align in such a way that earth’s shadow falls on the moon. Since the moon shines by reflecting the sun’s light, under eclipse it turns from silver-white colour to red. However, for a full red moon (or blood moon 2020), it must be a total eclipse. But not all lunar eclipses are full eclipses, instead, there can be three types of lunar eclipse:

  1. Total lunar eclipse
  2. Partial lunar eclipse
  3. Penumbral lunar eclipse

The eclipse occurring on 10th Jan is a penumbral lunar eclipse, and yes partial and penumbral eclipses are different.

What is a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse?

Evidently, the sun’s size compared to the earth causes the earth to form two shadow cones. One darker than the other as shown in the image below.

The darker cone is called ‘umbra’ and the area of the lighter shadow cone is called the penumbra. The darker shadow cone grows narrow with distance as shown in the image. However, the lighter shadow grows larger. Thus, the moon has a couple of options to hide from the sun:

  1. Hide completely within Umbra: Total Lunar Eclipse – Moon eventually turns completely red
  2. Hide partially in Umbra: Partial Lunar Eclipse – Only part of the moon turns red
  3. Stay in Penumbra Shadow: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse – Looks more like full moon, may appear slightly blueish

What’s So Special About Wolf Moon Eclipse 2020?

Before anything else, this is the first lunar eclipse (Chandra Grahan) of the year. This time, the moon is going almost entirely into the penumbral shadow of the earth. This phenomenon will be repeated on such scale again only in 2023.

In many countries, a January full moon is referred to as ‘wolf moon,’ as wolves howl quite a lot in this month of the year. So, the current eclipse also becomes ‘wolf moon eclipse.’ Imagine the moon changing colour in the middle of the night and you hear a pack of wolves howl in a distance.

How to Watch “Wolf Moon” Eclipse?

For the latest “Wolf Moon” eclipse (penumbral eclipse) all you need is to know the timing and clear skies to watch the celestial drama unfold right over your rooftop. Also, you must not be residing anywhere in the American subcontinent.

You can view the eclipse at these local times in your country. The eclipse will be visible in Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia equally...

            Event   New Delhi    London    Dubai
Penumbral Eclipse begins 10 Jan, 22:37 10 Jan, 17:07 10 Jan, 21:07
Maximum Eclipse 11 Jan, 00:40 10 Jan, 19:10 10 Jan, 23:10
Penumbral Eclipse ends 11 Jan, 02:42 10 Jan, 21:12 10 Jan, 01:12

(Source: Timeanddate.com)

How Does Lunar Eclipse Affect Foetus?

The short answer is, “it doesn’t.” There is no scientific evidence supporting any theory of harms done by the moon’s escapades in earth’s shadow (lunar eclipse).

Still, there are many precautionary advises (mostly myths) floating around for expecting moms (and in general) throughout the cultures around the world. Some of the prominent ones being:

  • Avoiding food during the eclipse and even cooking only after the eclipse
  • Staying away from sharp objects
  • Staying indoors (defeats all the fun out of watching a wonderful celestial phenomenon)
  • Light proofing the windows to avoid rays from eclipse from entering your home
  • Bathing after the eclipse (certainly not recommended late at night and in winters)

Although most of these precautions have no scientific basis, given the delicate nature of pregnancy, you are more likely to say, ‘better safe than sorry.’ Even if you are preferring to follow these precautions, and you miss any of the steps, don’t fret over it too much. Also, take care of your nutrition and hydration needs as they are more important for you and the baby.

Precautions During Lunar Eclipse for Expecting Moms

A lunar eclipse can last up to 4-5 hours during the night. So, avoiding food (and maybe even water) would not be a big challenge. If you are expecting moms & trying to avoid food and water during the eclipse & you want to stay up, here some precaution you put... 

  • Make sure you have had your fill on the dining table before the eclipse
  • Make sure to hydrate well before starting your temporary fast

Also, note that the solar eclipse instructions could be very different from the lunar eclipses. Click here to read about precautions for pregnant women during a solar eclipse. But don't forget to avoid falling for the myths around the solar eclipse as well.

Can You Look Directly at Lunar Eclipse?

A lunar eclipse is one of those rare celestial phenomena that humans can observe from their homes. Also, watching the lunar eclipse is safer than even the solar eclipse which humans can’t observe without contraptions (UV glasses).

Special Advice for Young Kids If Watching Lunar Eclipse

Among many other more serious ones, parents of young kids should ensure that the kids, know about the science behind the phenomenon. Also, if you are all climbing to the rooftops, make sure everyone is accounted for before and after the eclipse, as falling from the roof could be dangerous.

Keep your cameras ready, pray for clear skies if you are currently facing snowstorms or rains and make the most of the “Wolf Moon” eclipse.

Lunar Eclipse vs. Solar Eclipse - Differences

Chances are you have heard a lot about the solar eclipse. Solar eclipses are rarer, happen in the daytime, and require special glasses for the fans and observers to watch. Naturally, solar eclipses create more buzz and are the big daddy of lunar eclipse when it comes to fame.

(Video Source: NatGeo Youtube)

Few prominent differences between lunar and solar eclipse are:

(Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Lab)

Upcoming Dates of Lunar/Solar Eclipses for 2020

Keep in mind dates when lunar or solar eclipses happen in the year 2020. Check below... 

            Lunar Eclipse     Solar Eclipse
Causes  Earth’s shadow falling on the moon  Moon’s shadow falling on earth
When  Occurs on Full moon nights only  Occurs usually around the new moon
Visibility  Visible from everywhere on the night side of the earth  Visible only from a limited area which comes under the moon's shadow
Type of Eclipse  Only one out of three types of eclipses will be visible  The intensity of the moon's shadow on earth may define which type of solar eclipse you see
Watching Completely safe to watch, use a normal telescope for a closer look Watching with naked eyes not recommended, use special glasses to observe
Duration Usually lasts longer. May last up to 4 hours For a very short duration, especially total solar eclipse

Upcoming Eclipses, Types & Visibility Across The Globe 

Date Type of Eclipse Visible in/from
5-6 Jun 2020 Penumbral Lunar Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa
21 Jun 2020 Annular Solar Parts of Africa including the Central African Republic, Congo, and Ethiopia; south of Pakistan and northern India; and China
4-5 Jul 2020 Penumbral Lunar Most of North and South America, and Africa
29-30 Nov 2020 Penumbral Lunar North and South America, Australia, and parts of Asia
14 Dec 2020 Total Solar Eclipse Visible from Chile and some parts of Argentina; Partial eclipse visible in Some regions in southern South America, south-west Africa, and Antarctica

Image credit: Pixabay.com

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Jan 12, 2020

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| Jan 10, 2020

I am very interested in the article. Very informative.

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| Jan 09, 2020

very nice information

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| Jan 09, 2020

Thanks for sharing this information. very useful.

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