It's always exciting to watch a total lunar eclipse in the sky, especially when it is projected to be the longest one in your lifetime.
What Did Astronomers Discover About The Next Lunar Eclipse?
There will be a full moon and total lunar eclipse on July 27 to 28. It is going to be a "blood moon" and it is projected to be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century.
Astronomer Bruce McClure of EarthSky.org says that the eclipse will last one hour and 43 minutes. It will take almost four hours for it to cross the Earth's dark umbral shadow. This eclipse will be 40 minutes longer than the previous super "blue blood moon" in January 2018. McClure estimates that the total lunar eclipse will include partial eclipses that start at 6:24 UTC, or 2:24 p.m. EST, to 10:29 UTC, or 6:29 p.m. EST. The eclipse will be viewable throughout the world.
The total eclipse will include all of the bright colors that a "blood moon" would have. It will appear either deep red or orange in the sky. There will also Rayleigh scattering, which removes green and violet light particles in the sky during the eclipse.
There have typically been two lunar eclipses a year, but not all of them are total eclipses. The next year with two total lunar eclipses is 2022. Some years can also have three or four eclipses.
Why Is This Particular Lunar Eclipse So Long?
This lunar eclipse is so long because of the day it falls on. July 27-28 (depending on where you are in the world) marks both a full moon and a moon apogee, which is the farthest orbital point from Earth. These two events happening simultaneously are causing the extended lunar eclipse. The longest that a lunar eclipse could ever occur is one hour and 47 minutes.
"Sometimes called an apogean full moon, or micro-moon or mini-moon, this smaller and slower-moving full moon takes more time to cross the Earth's shadow than does a full moon that's closer to Earth and moving faster in orbit," McClure said.
What Is A Blood Moon?
A "blood moon" involves a dark red color change on the moon during an eclipse, which is when the moon is fully in Earth's shadow. Stretched light waves from sunsets and sunrises on the Earth strikes the surface of the moon, which gives a "blood moon" a noticeable red appearance.