Longest lunar eclipse of the century happening this week


A lunar eclipse only occurs when the sun, earth, and moon are aligned when our planet's satellite passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow).

The next lunar eclipse that will be visible in North America will be next winter: January 21, 2019. Half an hour later, the moon will be at the midpoint of the eclipse and it will turn red.

'The colour is due to Rayleigh scattering - where the sun's blue light is scattered off molecules in the earth's atmosphere - which also happens at sunsets. The eclipse will end at 11.14, making it the longest eclipse of the moon this century. Although there are three partial solar eclipses this year, none are visible in the U.S.

In London, the eclipsed moon will appear at moonrise sometime around 8.50pm BST for example.

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"Total lunar eclipses are much rarer from one particular location".

But in Glasgow, the moon will not be visible in the sky until around 9.06pm BST when the moon is halfway through the eclipse already.

A partial lunar eclipse is seen from in Nice, France, Aug. 7, 2017.

The eclipse on Friday is set to be the longest of the 21st Century, as the full moon happens to coincide next month with the point at which the moon's orbit is furthest away from the earth, so it will take longer to pass through the earth's shadow.

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Astronomers at Royal Observatory Greenwich explained the moon can be darkened for up to five hours at most doing a lunar eclipse, because the Earth is four times the size of the moon.

In those areas, the totality of the lunar eclipse - when the moon will retain its red color - will last for about an hour and 42 minutes.

The eclipse starts before the moon rises in the UK.

As for a solar eclipse, you've got a longer wait.

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All of South Africa will see a total eclipse of the moon on Friday evening, 27 July, starting at 20h24, according to the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA).