'Blood moon' to dazzle sky gazers for 21st Century's longest lunar eclipse


Watch the skies on Friday (today) night - as the moon turns a deep blood red in a rare celestial display which will last more than an hour.

The eclipse will be visible to people in Europe, Africa and the Middle East on July 27 between sunset and midnight.

Australians who looked skyward before sunrise were not left disappointed, as the moon glowed blood red for the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st Century. The next supermoon total lunar eclipse won't be until January 21, 2019, but today's historic eclipse will be "super" in its own right, as it will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the century. This visibility of lunar eclipse in India is expected to be pretty good but cloudy sky and inclement weather may hurt your chances of being able to watch the phenomenon.

The eclipse lasted an hour, 42 minutes and 57 seconds. Some light, though, still reaches it because it is bent by the earth's atmosphere.

Unlike a solar eclipse, people can look at a lunar eclipse directly with their own eyes. There are several channels which are organising live streaming of the lunar eclipse.

It will be an opportunity for all curious people and astronomy enthusiasts to observe the "loodd moon" and admire the longest lunar eclipse of the century. Additionally, Mars and the sun will be on exact opposite sides of the Earth and will shine its best.

While the phrase "blood moon" doesn't actually appear at all in the Bible, there are three distinct mentions of the moon turning the color of blood - and they're all pretty similar.

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The red sheen that the moon will take on is entirely dependent on how much dust is in the Earth's atmosphere.

"There is no reason to believe Blood Moons foretell doom", he said. The visible shade of the moon depends on the quality of the atmosphere.

In a special treat, Mars is also at its closest approach to Earth this week since 2003, making it appear bigger and brighter.

"About an hour later, the partial phase will begin at 2.24am when the moon begins to be covered by the dark Earth's shadow, the Umbra", he said. "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.

Robert Massey, deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society, said it was a "very unusual coincidence to have a total lunar eclipse and Mars at opposition on the same night".

In a lunar eclipse, the Earth stands between its natural satellite and the Sun.