Spectators around the world marvel at rare "blood moon" eclipse

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The eclipse won't be visible to viewers in North America, except via webcasts. This is much longer than standard lunar eclipses which last for only around one hour.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon and the sun are on exact opposite sides of Earth, so that our planet blocks the sunlight that normally reaches the moon. The lunar eclipse photographed here was very unusual, because it coincided with the moon's perigee, or closest approach to Earth.

But those in North America and other parts of the Western Hemisphere are out of luck, as the eclipse will be happening during daytime hours.

The cause of the Blood Moon, technically an eclipse in itself, is when the planet passes through the shadow cast by Earth.

Disappointed eclipse watchers on the sand dunes in Christchurch.

Red light has a better chance of doing so because shorter wavelengths of light are scattered more efficiently by the molecules in our atmosphere and red has a relatively long wavelength. But a total eclipse occurs only when the Umbra completely covers the moon's surface.

Although the lunar eclipse is expected to last 103 minutes, observers in the United Kingdom and Ireland will not be able to catch the start as the moon will still be below the horizon. It's also a "mini-moon" because the moon is the farthest from Earth and appears small.

"It's like looking at the sun at sunset - it goes red because the light goes through a dusty, murky atmosphere, and that is the light that gets through to the moon". Mars comes close to Earth approximately every two years, Ruotsalainen said.

The ‘blood moon’ eclipse as seen from KLCC in Kuala Lumpur
The ‘blood moon’ eclipse as seen from KLCC in Kuala Lumpur

For those lucky enough, and unlike a solar eclipse, the lunar event could be viewed without wearing protective eye gear.

"The higher you are, the better, because the sun will be barely clearing the horizon as the moon sets in the opposite direction".

Usually, lunar eclipses only last around one hour.

Andrew Fabian, professor of astronomy at Cambridge University, explained that light from the sun goes through the earth's atmosphere on its way to the moon.

The time of greatest eclipse will be 2021 GMT on July 27. This is what makes it appear so brightly in our sky, beginning early Friday morning.

The next time Mars will come close to Earth will be on October 6, 2020, at a distance of 38.6 million miles.

Total eclipses of the Moon are spectacular events and are easy to see with the naked eye.

And astronauts on board the International Space Station captured these incredible images of the Blood Moon from space.

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