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

According to NASA scientists: "The exact colour that the moon appears depends on the amount of dust and clouds in the atmosphere".

The moon will rise from the horizon tinged a deep, rusty red as it is totally eclipsed by the Earth. The only light which reaches moon and gets reflected back is the one which is refracted by the earth's atmosphere. And it's considered a "micro moon", though that isn't an official astronomical designation. The eclipse will already have started by the time the Moon rises over the United Kingdom and Western Europe. It's also a "mini-moon" because the moon is the farthest from Earth and appears small.

Then the Moon will start to gradually come out of Earth's shadow and partial eclipse will end at 3h 49m IST on July 28.

So where can you see the total lunar eclipse?

The eclipse will be visible in its entirety from the Indian Ocean and surrounding countries, from India to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The best conditions to view the spectacle will be in southern Italy, the Balkans and eastern Europe. Asia, Indonesia and Australia will see it between midnight and sunrise Saturday.

Dr Edward Bloomer, also an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: "Although Mars being in opposition is a regular event, the elliptical orbits of the planets mean the distance between them can vary quite a bit".

St Helens Star
Don't miss tomorrow's Blood Moon — the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century

EarthSky.org has a map showing more exact times. Although there is a lunar eclipse visible from NZ every couple of years, on average, being located in the right place to see a celestial peculiarity like a selenelion is much less frequent, and very few people have witnessed one.

Lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon when the sun fully illuminates the surface.

There are multiple YouTube channels showing the lunar eclipse 2018 live stream so that enthusiasts do not miss out on one of the remarkable events of the century.

Unlike a solar eclipse, the lunar event can be viewed without wearing protective eye gear.

Red light had a better chance of doing so for the same reason the sky was blue - shorter wave-lengths were scattered more efficiently by the molecules in our atmosphere.

It coincides not only with Mars's close approach, but with what he described as a "procession of planets" - a line-up of our celestial neighbours that will give skywatchers a particularly good view of Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

Astronomers' telescopes aimed at the blood moon have seen this happening, as well as another mysterious phenomenon - seemingly random spots of heat, often concentrated around craters.

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