Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Your guide to the longest full eclipse of the moon this century

Your guide to the longest full eclipse of the moon this century

The Moon will be completely covered by the Earth's umbra for 103 minutes, making this eclipse the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century.

The so-called "blood moon", when it turns a deep red, was visible at different times in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America when the sun, Earth and moon lined up perfectly, casting Earth's shadow on the moon. The totality period of the eclipse will last for one hour and 42 minutes, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

North America missed out on Friday's lunar eclipse but can look forward to the next one on January 21, 2019, according to NASA.

Mars is reaching its opposition, when it's in alignment on the opposite side of the Earth and the sun.

The planetarium has organised a "Moon Carnival" for people in the national capital to watch the eclipse, PTI reported.

"The light from the sun goes through the Earth's atmosphere on its way to the moon, and the Earth's atmosphere turns it red in the same way that when the sun goes down, it goes red", astronomy professor Andrew Fabian, of the University of Cambridge, told Reuters.

The rare event occurs when the Earth appears in a straight line between the Moon and the Sun. Astronomers are expecting the blood moon to last one hour and 43 minutes. The eclipse is estimated to start in India at 11:44pm IST on Friday night and the total lunar eclipse 2018 is expected to begin at 1am IST.

Nigeria to experience longest total lunar eclipse Friday – Scientist

A lunar eclipse of a full "blood moon" rises behind the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates July 27. These two events so close to one another will make Mars brighter and much easier to view in the night sky.

At 7.13pm South African time, the moon will start moving into the penumbral (partial) shadow of the earth. He will be speaking about the relevance of a lunar eclipse. It's one in the lifetime event when the Moon will turn blood red at nearly an hour past midnight on July 27 or early morning July 28.

According to him, unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions as they appear dimmer than the full moon. Just step outside, look up, and enjoy!

At least 200 people flocked to Observatory Hill in Sydney's CBD, and also to Dover Heights in the east, as the moon moved into the Earth's shadow, becoming darker and turning redder as sunlight passed through Earth's atmosphere.

This is what gives the phenomenon the name "blood moon", though Mark Bailey of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland said the colour can vary greatly.

While lunar eclipses are treated with curiosity and wonder today, it wasn't always so.

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