Published: Mon, July 30, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Blood Moon dazzles star gazers in longest lunar eclipse of 21st century

Blood Moon dazzles star gazers in longest lunar eclipse of 21st century

Totality, the period of time that the moon is fully in Earth's shadow, will last for approximately 103 minutes (1 hour, 42 minutes), with partial phases occurring before and after. 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.

The eclipse will be the longest in the 21st Century, starting at 10.44 pm and ending over six hours later, at 4.58 am on Saturday. Combined with the red tinge of the Moon, the two will make for an incredibly rare spectacle in the night sky.

"We have a rare and interesting conjunction of phenomena", Pascal Descamps, an astronomer with the Paris Observatory, told AFP.

We live in a very attractive part of the Universe.

Unfortunately for us here in MI, this eclipse will only be visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

The next such lunar eclipse won't be until 2123. - AP The moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse, as seen from Dresden, Germany. The atmosphere filters out most of the sun's blue light, so the moon looks red. And that is why it's also known as the blood moon. Mark Bailey of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland said the color can vary greatly. Prime viewing locations for the four-hour long event included Cairo, Egypt; Santorini, Greece; and Harare, Zimbabwe.

At 12.19am, the moon will be out of the earth's umbral shadow and the observable eclipse will be over. "Mars always appears red, due to the clouds of dust that swirl around its atmosphere containing high concentrations of iron oxide, the same compound that gives a ruddy hue to rust and human blood", according to the Daily Mail. The moon will begin to appear reddish around 18:24 GMT as it moves into the main part of the Earth's shadow. That's the darkest, most central part of the shadow. "It is also moving slower than average because it is at its farthest point from the Earth in its elliptical orbit", NASA added in a statement online.

Excited skywatchers on social media shared photos of the bright planet just to the right of the moon.

Moreover, Red planet MARS will be at its closest to Earth during July 27-31.

For those able to observe the event, no protective eye gear is necessary.

"All you have to do is dress warmly and go outside!" the Royal Astronomical Society advises.

You'll need a clear view of the horizon towards the south east to get the best possible view.

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