Longest total lunar eclipse concludes Friday night

Stages Of A Total Lunar Eclipse

Stages Of A Total Lunar Eclipse

Thai stargazers will be staying up into the wee hours of Saturday to witness the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century, as a "super blood moon" dazzles the world. At that time, the planet will be just 35.8 million miles away, which means it will be making its closest approach since 2003.

If the rain clouds permitted, the moon will appear entirely red or ruddy brown in the whole of India at 10:44 pm local time and will reach "totality" past midnight.

Amateur astronomers in the Southern Hemisphere will be best-placed to enjoy the spectacle, especially those in southern Africa, Australia, India and Madagascar.

According to the National Space Research and Development Agency, the lunar eclipse in Nigeria started around 6:44pm as partial eclipse and developed into a total eclipse around 7:30pm.

The view of the eclipsed moon and the sun is possible, weather allowing, because the rays of light from the sun and moon refract, or bend, around the earth's atmosphere. That blots out the direct sunlight that normally makes our satellite glow whitish-yellow. It will not be visible in North America and much of the Pacific Ocean because there it will be morning or afternoon.

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The full moon will pass through the shadow of the Earth and for 103 minutes the moon will turn varying shades of red. It usually gives the moon a rosy blush. It is popularly known called a blood moon because of the reddish glow that the moon appears to emit during the sunset and sunrise. Mark Bailey of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland said the color can vary greatly. But a small amount of light does actually pass through the outer parts of the Earth's atmosphere and reflect off the moon.

From 9.30pm to 11.13pm, the moon will be totally eclipsed.

Mr Ubachukwu observed that a lunar eclipse could occur only on the night of a full moon.

The longest lunar eclipse of the century is set to dazzle stargazers this evening - but people in the United Kingdom could miss out on seeing the rare celestial event, with rain clouds and thunderstorms set to dominate the skies. That's the darkest, most central part of the shadow. Furthermore, the Moon will be at apogee - farthest from the Earth in its orbit, on July 27 and will be moving at a slower speed in its orbit.

Mars will next be this close to earth in 2035.

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