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Longest Total Lunar Eclipse Of The Century Is About To Occur

Jul 23, 2018 07:47 PM EDT
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July is turning out to be eventful for skywatchers with the longest total lunar eclipse of the century slated for Friday, July 27.

A Historical Eclipse

If you're planning to catch the cool astronomical happening, don't worry, because you've got a big window to witness the event that paints the moon an eerie red color.

According to EarthSky, the totality of the coming eclipse will extend for 1 hour 42 minutes and 57 seconds. This is set to be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century, so those who come out to watch it will be witnessing history in the making.

By contrast, the previous total lunar eclipse of 2018 last Jan. 31 extended for an hour and 16 minutes long.

The totality is sandwiched between the partial eclipse when only a part of the moon is obscured by Earth's shadow. From the July eclipse's beginning to end —partial and total both — the entire event will last 3 hours and 55 minutes. It extends into early July 28.

When, Where To See The Total Lunar Eclipse

Unfortunately, North America is going to miss the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, since the moon will be under the horizon at the time of the event, according to Business Insider.

Most of eastern Africa, Middle East, and central Asia will get to enjoy the total lunar eclipse. Good weather and clear skies will help a lot in making it visible.

The partial lunar eclipse can be seen by a wider audience including Europe, eastern Asia, Indonesia, Australia, and some other locations.

The partial eclipse will begin at 6:24 p.m. UT, while the total eclipse starts at 7:30 p.m. UT and ends at 9:13 p.m. UT.

Another Red Cosmic Event

In a cool twist, the Earth will also be between the sun and Mars on the same night, which means the Red Planet is at opposition on July 27 as well.

Those who are always looking to the sky might have already noticed the particularly bright sparkle of Earth's neighboring planet. Mars is already incredibly bright and red for the entire month of July — brighter than even Jupiter until Sept. 7 — but it's expected to be even more vibrant during opposition.

Why Does The Moon Turn Bloody?

While solar eclipses are a striking sight of the moon framed by the sun, lunar eclipses simply have the moon tinted an eerie red.

During a lunar eclipse, the Earth completely blocks the moon from the glare of the sun. Astronomy describes the planet's atmosphere as acting like a filtered lens. It's the same way that sunsets and sunrises are red.

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