Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Sci-tech | By Spencer Schmidt

Red planet and 'blood moon' pair up to dazzle skygazers

Red planet and 'blood moon' pair up to dazzle skygazers

The Guardian had reported that Nigeria and most other parts of the world would on July 27, 2018 experience blood moon- a spectacular total lunar eclipse. That's a full 1 hour 43 minutes, which is just four minutes shy of the longest total lunar eclipse possible, according to EarthSky.

A total lunar eclipse happens when Earth takes position in a straight line between the moon and sun, blotting out the direct sunlight that normally makes our satellite glow whitish-yellow. The moon in the lunar eclipse will also be passing through the middle of the Earth's shadow, meaning it will spend the maximum time in darkness, thus contributing to the long duration of the eclipse.

When the moon moves into the conical shaped shadow of the earth, it goes from being illuminated by the sun to being dark. For those watching on Earth, the moon appears to cover the sun, with a ring of the sun's light surrounding the moon. Not only did it create an atmosphere, but the escaping steam could have condensed into pools of liquid water on the Moon's surface, becoming a flawless breeding ground for microorganisms. "Astrology is not something we follow".

DOUBLE TREAT This composite image created on January 31 shows the moon during a lunar eclipse in Tokyo.

No other Lunar Eclipse will be as long as this in the century.

The balance of Asia and Europe, as well as Africa and Antarctica, will be able to see the entirety of the eclipse. While some tabloids have predicted the lunar eclipse will mean some tragic event or even the end of the world, there is not cause for concern.

The eclipse in its various phases, invisible to the naked eye, begins at 10.45 pm and ends at 4.59 am on Saturday, July 28.

In addition to the lunar eclipse, the planet Mars will be at its brightest since 2003 and be directly below the moon.

The eclipse is slated to last almost 1 hour 43 minutes - the longest in about a century. During the eclipse, the moon will appear red, giving it the nickname "blood moon". In a famous passage in the Book of Joel in the Hebrew Bible, it warns that "the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and bad day of the Lord comes".

PAGASA said lunar eclipses are safe to watch and observers do not need to use any kind of protective filters for the eyes.

He said that the inclination of the Earth will scatter the sun's rays, leaving the moon with a reddish brown colour.

Speaking to JOE, David Moore, Chairman for Astronomy Ireland said: "We'll only see half of the eclipse in Ireland".

North America will be out of luck, though, since the moon will be below the horizon. "But the best time to view it is several hours after sunset, when Mars will appear higher in the sky", NASA said in a skywatching video.

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