Blood Moon dazzles star gazers in longest lunar eclipse of 21st century

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A partial lunar eclipse, as seen from Gaza City on Friday, July 27.

The total eclipse lasts 1 hour and 43 minutes, with the entire event lasting closer to four hours.

In a total lunar eclipse, the Moon passes through the core of Earth's shadow, often turning red-orange due to the bending of sunlight through Earth's atmosphere.

For about half the world, the "blood moon" will be partly or fully in Earth's shadow from 1:14 p.m.to 7:28 p.m. ET. Some light, though, will still reach it because it is bent by the earth's atmosphere. This occurs when an eclipsed moon can be seen on one horizon, while the rising sun can be observed on the other.

Alexander tweeted: "A partially eclipsed Moon, with our neighbouring planet in the background, just before diving into Earth's atmosphere".

At the same time, Mars is traveling closer to Earth than it has done since 2003, so some observers may see what looks like an orange-red star - and is in fact the red planet.

When asked if the eclipse might be an omen of some sort, Fabian, who said he will try to observe the eclipse, laughed: "Absolutely not".

If you're in North America and want to watch the lunar eclipse, you still can.

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The next lunar eclipse of such length will happen in 2123.

However, he said it was still worth seeing as the next blood moon would not be visible in New Zealand until May 2021.

Fearing the jaguar would come down to earth to continue its assault, people would throw spears at the moon and create noise to scare it away.

And unlike solar eclipses, especially the total solar eclipse in August 2017, the lunar eclipse is safe to view with the naked eye or binoculars. This visibility of lunar eclipse in India is expected to be pretty good but cloudy sky and inclement weather may hurt your chances of being able to watch the phenomenon.

The period of complete eclipse - known as "totality" when the moon appears darkest and takes on a red hue lasted from 8.30pm until 10.13pm. This is because the moon is at the furthest point in its orbit and will take 3:55 hours crossing the Earth's dark umbral shadow.

Astronomers, though, said there was no cause for worry. The "little planet" image on the left also shows the approximate size of Earth compared to the moon. Earlier this year, the world got a glimpse of a total lunar eclipse on January 31.

"Mars will look like this attractive bright red star just below the Moon", said Prof O'Brien.

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