Imposing, beautiful and unique in concept, the 30-storey aluminium and glass building which houses Yayasan Sabah Group Headquarters, the Menara Tun Mustapha in Likas, will be one of the locations in the country to observe the total lunar eclipse on 31 January.
According to the Group Manager, Corporate Communications of Yayasan Sabah Group, Sam S. Karnail, Yayasan Sabah Group together with Sabah Stargazer Association will be holding the event which provides an opportunity to the public to witness the total eclipse of the moon that is expected to take five hours and 17 minutes.
According to him, based on the earlier statement by National Space Agency (ANGKASA), in Peninsular Malaysia, the eclipse will take place when the moon is rising in the eastern horizon, while in Sabah and Sarawak, this phenomenon will begin after moonrise.
"The eclipse will start at 6.51 pm on 31 January when the Earth's penumbra starts touching the moon's face, while at 7.48 pm a partial moon eclipse begins where the moon will become red. The total eclipse begins at 8.51 pm where the public will see the moon turn completely red with the maximum eclipse phase at 9.29 pm. This is when the moon is closest to the centre of the shadow. The overall eclipse ends at 12.08 midnight on 1 February" he explained.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra. This can occur only when the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle.
This total lunar eclipse is also famously known as Blood Moon, as the moon turns red which will be fully visible in Kota Kinabalu. When the eclipse of January 31 is almost over, the moon would have just crossed the perigee position a day earlier with a distance of 358,993 kilometres from the Earth, making this eclipse as â€˜Supermoon Eclipse'.
Supermoons will occur when the moon is less than 360,000 kilometres away from the Earth and no specific equipment is required to see this phenomenon.
"The use of telescopes and binoculars, however, will help to see more clearly. Hence, Yayasan Sabah Group with the support of Sabah Stargazer Association will hold observation activities for the public to witness this phenomenon. This is also in line with the effort of the Management of Yayasan Sabah Group to use the iconic Menara Tun Mustapha as a civic and recreational centre for the general public" he said.
"Mobile telescopes will be available to visitors and participation is free. Other activities include quizzes on the lunar eclipses" he explained.