Published: Tue, July 24, 2018
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Longest lunar eclipse of the century happening this week

Longest lunar eclipse of the century happening this week

But on July 27 late night, the Full Moon would be near its apogee, the farthest point from the Earth in its orbit around the Earth, and it would be the smallest full moon of the year. The totality will begin around 4:21 p.m. People in the eastern part of South America and western parts of Europe will be able to see it at moonrise while parts of western Australia will get a glimpse during moonset.

For the duration of the total lunar eclipse, the Moon will be completely engulfed by the Earth's shadow. The only light that reflects from the surface is refracted (change of direction) by earth's atmosphere; this light tends to appear reddish, which is why it is known as Blood Moon.

"In the USA, the lunar eclipse will start around 1:14 p.m. ET, and the maximum period of totality will start around 4:21 p.m. ET, making it too light outside for the blood moon to be visible", Noah Petro, a scientist for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, told ABC News.

It's official: the longest lunar eclipse of the century is headed our way.

Some Christians believe the celestial event could mark the start of disaster, based on a passage from the biblical Book of Joel, which reads: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the bad day of the Lord comes".

Total lunar eclipse. Image by author
Image by author captured Oct. 7 2014 Jackson MI

Although the moon is in Earth's shadow, some sunlight still reaches the moon.

Even if you're in North America, you can still watch the July 27 eclipse online through the Virtual Telescope Project's website, which will start livestreaming the eclipse at 2:30 p.m. The next total lunar eclipse will occur on January 21, 2019. In India, stargazers can watch it at its Penumbral phase (initial stage).

"This is what is called the first contact when the partial lunar eclipse begins", said the Hyderabad centre's statement.

In mainland France, the eclipse will be visible from 10 pm - 10.30 pm and it is expected to last until almost 12.30 am. However, they shouldn't sweat it because their robotic spacecraft, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, will experience it first-hand. A "blood moon" and lunar eclipse are coming Friday!

A spokesman for the Royal Astronomical Society said Friday's Blood Moon would be a "spectacular" sight.

Like this: