Coppery-red super blood moon visible January 20

Mindy Sparks
January 2, 2019

China launched the first mission to the moon that is set to make a soft landing on the moon's far side, sometimes called the dark side. It now readies to make history to become the first mission to land on the dark side of the moon.

NASA says: "Lunar eclipses occur about two to four times per year, when the Moon passes into the Earth's shadow".

A couple of weeks ago, China reached a major milestone as its Chang'e-4 lander and rover entered the moon's orbit. Pericenter - the closest the orbital object comes to its celestial host as it speeds past - is reported as being a mere 9 miles above the rocky surface, according to SCMP.

The administration said Chang'e 4's scientific tasks included astronomical observation using low-frequency radio, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure, and measuring neutron radiation and neutral atoms, to build up an understanding of the environment on the moon's far side.

Chang'e-4 entered the lunar orbit on December 12.

China's ground control center has trimmed the spacecraft's orbit twice since December 12, when Chang'e-4 entered the lunar orbit, and tested the communication link between Chang'e-4 and the relay satellite Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge.

However, according to Xinhua, the probe has entered an elliptical lunar orbit at around 6:30 AM IST. Total lunar eclipses are often call "blood moons" because when the sun, Earth and moon align, the sunlight that passes through the Earth's atmosphere will appear to turn the moon red.

Tidally locked to the earth, the moon rotates at the same rate as the blue planet while orbiting, which means that the "dark side of the moon" is never visible to earthy spectators.

Stargazers will witness a trifecta of lunar events in the New Year - a total lunar eclipse, a super blood moon and a "wolf moon", a nickname for a full moon that appears in the middle of winter.

In doing so, China aims to catch up with Russian Federation and the United States to become a major space power by 2030. Beijing is also planning to inaugurate its own manned space station next year. The probe's descent will be aided by a communications relay satellite, the Queqiao, which China deployed back in May. Oftentimes it's setting a lofty goal we'd like to achieve over the following 12 months, but China's space agency won't need to wait almost that long to place a large feather in its 2019 cap.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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