Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

World looks to the skies as 'blood moon' eclipse begins

World looks to the skies as 'blood moon' eclipse begins

The Moon turns red because it comes under earth's shadow and light rays falling from Sun crosses the earth, making the moon look blood red.

The Moon won't even rise in our eastern skies until 9:06 PM, almost 4 hours after completely emerging from Earth's shadow. Fun fact: Legend has it that Christopher Columbus, tipped off by an astrologist, told an indigenous Caribbean tribe that the Christian god would soon make the moon disappear because they would not share resources with Columbus's crew.

At 12.19am, the moon will be out of the earth's umbral shadow and the observable eclipse will be over. Unfortunately, if you live in North America you won't be able to see it outside. This is much longer than standard lunar eclipses which last for only around one hour.

Mr Ubachukwu observed that a lunar eclipse could occur only on the night of a full moon. One can see the partial eclipse in India starting 11:44 pm IST followed by the total lunar eclipse at 1am.

The entire phenomenon lasted three hours and 54 minutes, according to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The best views were in Western Australia because it was still dark during the lunar eclipse process. Spanning for 1 hour 43 minutes, the Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse will see the moon turning to a shade of red.

In a special treat, Mars is in opposition on Friday - meaning the planet and the sun will be on exact opposite sides of the Earth and will shine its best. "If there are extra particles in the atmosphere, from say a recent volcanic eruption, the moon will appear a darker shade of red".

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The next lunar eclipse will be on January 21, 2019.

As of now, the lunar eclipse can be seen only on timeanddate.com/live/. The Mahila Seva Samaj School, in association with Aryabhata Planetarium, will be setting up a high-end telescope in the playground to view the spectacular blood moon.

The planet is expected to be visible as a bright red star.

The longest eclipse of the 20th century fell on July 16, 2000. But fret not, as in this technology-driven world, watching the night skies is no problem even if your view of the eclipse is not as clear as you would want it to be.

The term "blood moon" was popularised by Christian pastor John Hagee in 2013 following the release of the book Four Blood Moons, which highlighted a lunar sequence of four total eclipses that occurred in 2014/15. Some light, though, will still reach it because it is bent by the earth's atmosphere.

Check this page closer to 3 p.m. Friday for a look at how the world is viewing the lunar eclipse.

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