Blood Moon Dazzles Star Gazers Around The World

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The July 27, 2018, lunar eclipse will put the moon fully in Earth's shadow for 1 hour, 42 minutes, and 57 seconds.

At the same time, Mars will hover near the moon in the night sky, easily visible with the naked eye.

"It's the first time we've welcomed so many people - we were victims of our own success, but in a nice way", said Sabine André, president of the amateur astronomer's organisation of La Côte (Astrac).

Excited skywatchers on social media have shared photos of the bright planet just to the right of the moon. The best visibility will be in Africa and Asia.

Lunar eclipses can occur only during a full moon, and this one was extra special because it was also the blood moon.

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A total lunar eclipse occurs when the earth passes directly between the sun and moon, making the moon fall into shadow. That blots out the direct sunlight that normally makes our satellite glow whitish-yellow. Furthermore, the Moon will be at apogee - farthest from the Earth in its orbit, on July 27 and will be moving at a slower speed in its orbit. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the eclipse transformed the moon into a reddish orange colour for more than 100 minutes. During this rare phenomena, the Moon will turn bright red and it will be visible in India as well. It usually gives the moon a rosy blush. Mark Bailey of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland said the color can vary greatly.

"And the density of dust increasing in the atmosphere can cause the moon to appear a particularly deep red, and indeed it has the same effect on our sunsets and sunrises".

The spectacle will be perfectly visible across all of Italy, clouds permitting. The moon in the lunar eclipse will also be passing through the middle of the Earth's shadow, meaning it will spend the maximum time in darkness, thus contributing to the long duration of the eclipse.

Kiwi eclipse watchers were disappointed this morning when the moon disappeared behind clouds at the crucial moment. On the same night and over the coming days, Mars will be at its closest point to Earth since 2003. In Lucerne, the astronomical society provided telescopes at the lakeshore for the public to get a closer look.

In Sydney, crowds gathered to watch the Moon turn red above the city's distinctive skyline.

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