'Blood moon' to appear for 21st Century's longest lunar eclipse

It won't be visible in the US, but can be seen in parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia - depending on the weather.

"It starts with a partial eclipse at 7:24 p.m".

I'll tell people to look at the moon on any random night, but tonight, Friday July 27, is when you should really be turning your head toward the sky.

Views of the event in Switzerland - which could, unlike a solar eclipse, safely be made without special glasses - were somewhat less spectacular than in other parts of the world, with cloudy skies interfering with optimal viewing in Lausanne and Bern. While the full eclipse will be over 6 hours, the total lunar eclipse 2018 will last for 1 hour and 43 minutes.

While viewers in New South Wales and Queensland lost sight of the moon towards the end of the eclipse, those in Western Australia saw the whole spectacle, and even watched as the moon emerged from the eclipse.

The Moon passed right through the centre of the Earth's shadow, at the shadow's widest point.

Baboons silhouetted by the moon at the city zoo in Brasilia Brazil
ERALDO PERES AP Baboons silhouetted by the moon at the city zoo in Brasilia Brazil

In Strasbourg, France, the Moon could be seen looming over this sculpture by the American artist Jonathan Borofsky.

As NPR reported, NASA expects Friday's lunar eclipse to be the longest this century. Unfortunately, if you live in North America you won't be able to see it outside.

The fullest eclipse, at 2022 GMT, will be visible from Europe, Russia, Africa, the Middle East, much of Asia and Australia. During the phenomenon, the moon appears red as it is illuminated by sunlight filtered through the Earth's atmosphere, hence the term "blood moon". But a small amount of light does actually pass through the outer parts of the Earth's atmosphere and reflect off the moon.

When the three celestial bodies are perfectly lined up, however, the Earth's atmosphere scatters blue light from the sun while refracting or bending red light onto the moon.

The moon also plotted a fairly long path across the Earth's disk-shaped shadow. The next to last as long will occur on June 9, 2123.

The opposition of Mars takes place approximately every two years, but due to the very elliptical orbit of Mars, the distance between Earth and Mars varies significantly during each encounter, it said.

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