Published: Sun, July 29, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Early-risers impressed by 'super long' blood moon eclipse

Early-risers impressed by 'super long' blood moon eclipse

It wasn't visible in the USA, but it could be seen from places like South America, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

A blood moon is the name given to a lunar eclipse when the moon passes behind the Earth and into its shadow, completing aligning in the process.

For those in North America, several scientific organizations will offer livestreams of the celestial event.

Andrew Fabian, professor of astronomy at Cambridge University, explained that light from the sun goes through the earth's atmosphere on its way to the moon. Though there won't be an eclipse that lasts as long for another century, you'll still have plenty of other opportunities to witness a blood moon in your lifetime.

During the eclipse, the moon is expected to take on a red sheen, with the phenomenon being described as the "blood moon". Anyone in Ethiopia will have the best view of the eclipse though, according to NASA.

The eclipse lasted an hour, 42 minutes and 57 seconds.

However, the bending - or refraction - of the rays of light caused by our atmosphere by about half a degree makes it possible to see both.

Unlike like a solar eclipse, it is entirely safe to look directly at a lunar eclipse, and Friday's eclipse offered sky-watchers more time than usual to look. The next lunar eclipse of such a length is due in 2123.

Muscat: The century's longest lunar eclipse will be be visible over much of the Earth tonight, including Oman.

A fishermen boat crosses the reflection of the moonlight during the moon eclipse in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. — AFP
A fishermen boat crosses the reflection of the moonlight during the moon eclipse in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. — AFP

"If that were true, we'd be in big trouble given the gravitational pulls on Earth, Mars, and our moon!" the NASA website states.

While the phrase "blood moon" doesn't actually appear at all in the Bible, there are three distinct mentions of the moon turning the color of blood - and they're all pretty similar. (Picture: EPA) The moon is seen during a lunar eclipse next to the German national flag on top of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany.

During the eclipse, the moon turned into a deep-copper-toned object, in what is commonly (but not scientifically) known as "blood moon".

On the same day as the eclipse, the planet Mars will be at its brightest as it travels close to Earth. Picture: Michael GrayA composite photograph showing the various phases of the moon during a lunar eclipse in Sydney.

Our constant companion will also be at the farthest point on its orbit from Earth, making its movement across the sky slower from our perspective, thus spending longer in the dark.

Two very similar passages appear later in the New Testament, in the books of Acts and Revelations.

But Robert Massey, from the Royal Astronomical Society, reassured the doubters.

During this total eclipse, the Moon - earth's natural satellite - will turn striking shade of red.

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