Rare Celestial treat: Longest total Lunar Eclipse of century falls tomorrow


The celestial spectacle, which would be seen in its entirety from all parts of India, last for 1 hour 43 minutes, making it the longest total lunar eclipse of this century (2001 AD to 2100 AD), the Ministry of Earth Science had said. Hailed as the longest lunar eclipse in hundred years, it comes at a time when the moon is at its farthest point from the earth (apogee), causing it to go slower and the eclipse to last longer.

At around 8.30pm tonight, the Earth will start to eclipse the moon - turning it red. The total eclipse will begin at 1 am (July 28) and soon the moon will appear to turn red, looking the darkest at 01.52 am.

The eclipse will be visible from Europe, Africa and the Middle East between sunset and midnight on July 27 and then between midnight and sunrise on July 28 in much of Asia and Australia. The "little planet" image on the left also shows the approximate size of Earth compared to the moon. In Japan, the moon will be setting as the eclipse begins. And the light that reaches the moon is tinged with a reddish hue colour.

Unfortunately for us here in MI, this eclipse will only be visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

A red planet glowing next to a red moon - it should be a attractive show. Join Miguel here as he takes us through his photograph "Total Lunar Eclipse of 2015".

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A "blood moon" happens when Earth's moon is in full eclipse and has no special astronomical significance, rather, the view in the sky is striking as the usually whitish moon becomes red or ruddy-brown. According to the scientists, the maximum time that a lunar eclipse can occur is one hour 47 minutes, and this is quite close to that. Mars will not look so different to the naked eye but it is in fact a mere 57.6 million away tomorrow night, making it the flawless time for people to glimpse the red planet through the telescope. The Moon passes directly behind Earth and into its shadow and a lunar eclipse can occur only on the night of a full moon or Poornima day.

What is a lunar eclipse? The only light which reaches moon and gets reflected back is the one which is refracted by the earth's atmosphere. When this happens, Earth blocks the light from the sun to the moon.

One of the prophecies that Begley read claims, "The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and awful day of the Lord comes..."

Even if you can't see Friday night's eclipse in real life, you can watch it on your computer.

Unlike a solar eclipse, it's completely safe to watch a lunar eclipse with the naked eye. As a result of this, the moon's colour as seen from the Earth turns dark (or blood) red, hence why it is often referred to as a "blood moon eclipse". In an unrelated event, Mars will be the closest it has been to our planet since 2003.