The longest total lunar eclipse of the century takes place on Friday, July 27, as the full moon turns blood red in the skies from Australia through Africa.
A total lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes through the Earth’s innermost shadow. When this occurs, the moon becomes rusty orange or deep red in color. Thus, it earned the nickname of a blood moon eclipse.
The red moon will be pairing with Mars, which leads to an opposition just before the eclipse and will also resemble orange or red in color.
No special equipment or glasses are needed to observe a total lunar eclipse, although spectators will require cloud-free weather.
Friday’s lunar eclipse will be particularly special as it is the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century.
The total phase of the eclipse will last for a majestic 1 hour and 43 minutes, while the entire eclipse, including the partial phases, will last for over 6 hours.
One reason why this eclipse is enduring is that it is befalling when the moon is near apogee, or the point in its orbit when it is farthest away from the Earth, making it look smaller than usual.
This occurrence is sometimes regarded as a ‘micro moon,’ and is the counterpart of the well-known supermoon, or perigee (when the moon is at its nearest to Earth).
The next time there is a total lunar eclipse this long will not be until June 9, 2123.
“On July 27th, a total lunar eclipse will be visible in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and South America,” NASA said.
News Source: Brian Lada / Accuweather