Longest Lunar Eclipse of the Century

Jul 27, 2018, 10:59
Longest Lunar Eclipse of the Century

A partial lunar eclipse happens when part of the Moon enters Earth's shadow. In Auckland the eclipse is still partial (i.e. totality is yet to begin) as the Moon disappears below the horizon.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is safe to watch with the naked eye; you're only looking at the Moon, at night, which is quite safe.

The fact our planet was closer than Mars, meant Earth sped along its orbit faster, taking two trips around the Sun in the same time it took for Mars to make just a single circuit. From 1:15am to 2:43am, the moon will be in the middle of the Earth's shadow and will appear reddish in colour.

The moon will rise from the horizon tinged a deep, rusty red as it is totally eclipsed by the Earth. The best views are reserved for people in east Africa.

The atmosphere scatters blue light more strongly, meaning the light that reaches the lunar surface is predominantly red in colour.

During a lunar eclipse, the sun lies directly behind Earth, refracting - or bending - light.

Total Lunar Eclipse of July 27, 2018.

St Helens Star

Dr Emily Brunsden, director of the University of York's Astrocampus, added that this eclipse was a "micro blood moon".

The totality of this lunar eclipse will last about an hour and 43 minutes, but a partial eclipse before and after the total phase will each last an hour and six minutes - which means the moon will spend almost four hours crossing the Earth's shadow.

A "super moon" occurs when the moon is near its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit. One might think this to be impossible - because an eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are in a straight line, and so if the Moon is above the horizon then the Sun must surely be below it. The uncertainty about the weather has led to the cancellation of some other events, including a Moon workshop at the iconic Jantar Mantar that was being organised by a private organisation during the eclipse period.

If you were standing on the moon at the time of the eclipse, the Earth would look like a black disk outlined in glowing red.

"Less dark eclipses may show the moon as dark grey or brown.as rust-coloured, brick-red, or, if very bright, copper-red or orange". Because the Earth passes between the sun and the moon during this cosmic event, the light of the sun has to pass through our planet's atmosphere, casting a shadow on the moon. North America and Greenland will miss out entirely. As a effect, it will also appear to be the biggest and brightest in the last 15 years.

The visibility of the eclipse will nevertheless depend on the weather conditions in each specific location, with clouds and fog blocking views of the lunar event.

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