Skywatchers are in for an extraordinary celestial treat next week as the shadow of the Earth will color the moon blood-red in the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century.
The eclipse will be visible from many places on Earth on the morning of July 28 in the East and the evening of July 27 in the West.
NASA says the event will last a whopping four hours, although the duration of viewing time will depend on the time of moonrise and moonset at a certain location.
The totality, or the point at which the shadow of the Earth completely covers the moon, will last one hour and 43 minutes.
Dr. Amanda Bosh, professor of astronomy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explains that the moon will be at its apogee at this time. This means the moon will be at its farthest point from Earth, making it appear like it is moving slower.
Experts say the total lunar eclipse is expected to be the second longest of its kind in the entire recorded history of astronomy, only four minutes shorter than the longest lunar eclipse viewed on Earth.
Best Times And Places To Watch The Total Lunar Eclipse
Most of the Eastern hemisphere will be able to watch the total lunar eclipse on the evening of July 27. Central Asia, the Middle East, and majority of eastern Africa will have the best views of the total lunar eclipse from beginning to end. Scientists exploring the secrets of Antarctica will also be afforded great seats to watch the eclipse.
In New Delhi, the penumbral eclipse will start at 10:44 p.m. local time, at which point the moon will already be well above the horizon. The moon will be fully tinged blood red at 11:54 p.m. and will emerge out of the umbral phase at 3:49 a.m. on July 28.
South Africa will also have unhinged views, with the penumbral phase starting at 7:14 p.m. local time. Umbral phase will begin at 8:24 p.m. and the eclipse will reach its maximum at 10:21 p.m.
If the weather permits, skywatchers will also catch a glimpse of the Milky Way at around the same time, as the light from the moon is dimmed by the shadow of the Earth. On July 31, Mars will also appear 10 times brighter and will be visible to everyone on Earth even without a telescope.
Best Times And Places To Watch The Partial Lunar Eclipse
In Europe, Australia, and Eastern and Southeast Asia, viewers will be treated to a partial lunar eclipse, where the moon only passes partially through the shadow of the Earth.
In London, the moon will rise already in the shadow of the Earth at 8:51 p.m.. At 9:21 p.m. the moon will be entirely blood red, until it emerges from full shadow at 11:19 p.m.
Viewers in Australia will have to wake up on the wee hours of July 28 to catch the eclipse as the moon starts to set. The umbral shadow will begin at 4:24 a.m. and the moon will begin to turn red at 5:30 a.m. The full eclipse will take place at 6:21 a.m. until the moon comes out of the shadow at 7:28 a.m.
In the east coast of South America, the moon will already be glowing red as it rises at 5:27 p.m. on July 27. It will start to come out of the shadow at 6:13 p.m., ending the penumbral phase at 8:28 p.m.
Unfortunately for viewers in North America, the Arctic, and Pacific regions, they will have to miss out or travel to other parts of the world if they would like to join in on this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event.
Photo: Kevin Rheese | Flickr