Rare Celestial treat: Longest total Lunar Eclipse of century falls tomorrow

Rare Celestial treat: Longest total Lunar Eclipse of century falls tomorrow

Rare Celestial treat: Longest total Lunar Eclipse of century falls tomorrow

By the time the blood moon is rising on Friday evening in the United Kingdom, it will have begun to pass out of Earth's shadow - although it will still remain quite red.

The best time to get out and see the moon slowly drifting into darkness is about 2.24am, when the moon will be partially eclipsed - a dark spot slowly growing across its surface as the night progresses.

The same day, Mars will be at its brightest as it travels close to earth, so observers may be able to see what looks like an orange-red star which is in fact the so called red planet.

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

"We have to wait for the moon to rise a little above the horizon to be able to see it, with the beginning of the eclipse taking place before the moon rises", Descamps said, adding that in French territories such as Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean the whole of the eclipse will be visible from beginning to end.

During a total eclipse, the Earth completely obscures sunlight from directly hitting the moon as the sun, the Earth and the moon will be in flawless alignment.

And of course, even those not in the path of the lunar eclipse can enjoy the full moon.

So it's anyone's guess just how red this eclipse will be.

Rare Celestial treat: Longest total Lunar Eclipse of century falls tomorrow

"While more common than the solar eclipse, the event is nonetheless fairly unusual, with even partial eclipses rarely happening a couple of times or twice per year and each is only visible from a portion of the Earth".

The "blood moon" effect is created due to light passing through Earth's atmosphere, which scatters blue light, meaning the moon turns a reddish colour. "If you were on the Moon, you would see a total solar eclipse as the Earth would be blocking the Sun". The total lunar eclipse is one of 85 this century, but tonight's will be the longest, lasting an hour and 43 minutes.

He said the moon would begin to enter earth's shadow (known as the penumbra) around 5.15am and would gradually dim until about 6.25am.

According to Professor Mark Birkinshaw, from the University of Bristol, the only two things people need tomorrow night to see the stunning astronomical event are your own eyes.

He will be speaking about the relevance of a lunar eclipse.

The Royal Astronomical Society said that Mars and the moon will appear low in the sky for everyone in the United Kingdom, so a location with an unobstructed southeastern horizon will afford the best view. The Earth in the middle prevents sunlight from reaching the Moon.

The eclipse will be visible in the regions covering Australia, Asia, Russia - except the northern part, Africa, Europe, east of South America and Antarctica.

A "super moon" occurs when the moon is near its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit.

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