'Blood moon' to dazzle sky gazers for 21st Century's longest lunar eclipse

Jan Cross
July 28, 2018

Although total lunar eclipses happen relatively often, the one happening on Friday 27 July 2018 is particularly special because it will last for the longest time of any such eclipse in the 21st century.

A total lunar eclipse - the longest of the century - is now starting to become visible for much of the Eastern Hemisphere. Totality (the part of the eclipse when the moon is entirely in the Earth's shadow) will last for a full 1 hour and 43 minutes.

The next total lunar eclipse will occur on January 19 2019.

The Virtual Telescope Project is hosting the alluringly named "Night of the Red Moon and the Red Planet" and will have its cameras trained on the moon during the eclipse.

Social media users were quick to post sarcastic tweets about how great their view of the celestial event was, with many bemoaning the fact that skies had been clear for weeks only to cloud up on Friday.

On Primrose Hill, north London, would-be-moon admirers broke into a rendition of "Total eclipse of the heart" to lift the soggy mood.

The Earth's shadow passing over the moon.

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The moon and the mars are seen during a lunar eclipse is seen above the cityscape and the television tower in Berlin, Germany, on July 27, 2018.

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

The eclipse will not be visible to residents of the United States as by the time the moon rises at night in the U.S., it will have already completed its journey through Earth's shadow, or Umbra.

Before and after this total eclipse phase, the Moon passes into a transitional phase called penumbra: the total duration of these three phases (penumbra, total, penumbra) varies from place to place.

Sydneysiders were not disappointed with the eclipse has thousands woke early across the city to take in the spectacle. Those who live in Asia and Australia will be able to see the eclipse between midnight and sunrise on July 28.

At the same time, Mars will hover near the moon in the night sky, easily visible with the naked eye. The blood moon prophecy predicts the world as we know it will end after a series of four lunar eclipses, which is known as a "tetrad".

The long duration of this eclipse was partly because the moon made a near-central passage through Earth´s umbra - the darkest, most central part of the shadow. The moon will start to change shape and colour as it enters the shadow of the earth which blocks out the sun.

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