Lunar eclipse: Skygazers await century's longest 'blood moon'

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The "totality" period, when light from the Moon is totally obscured, will last for one hour, 43 minutes.

This week marks the beginning of Mars' stint in opposition - meaning it will be on the opposite side of Earth from the sun.

For those in the Middle East and Madagascar, the eclipse will occur about midnight, and people in Europe and Africa will have the best view between sunset and midnight.

The next total eclipse of the sun visible in the US will be on April 8, 2024. And I think you'll find that the term "blood moon" can not do justice to the wonder of what you're watching. The Moon will take three hours and 55 minutes to cross the Earth's dark shadow during its sojourn. "The previous total lunar eclipse on January 31, 2018, didn't last as long (1 hour and 16 minutes) because the moon passed to the south of shadow's center; and the next total lunar eclipse on January 21, 2019, won't be as long either (1 hour and 2 minutes) because it'll pass to the north of the shadow's center". This slower moving full Moon will take longer time and greater distance of Earth's umbral shadow cone to travel, making it the longest duration of total eclipse of this century.

It's also what's being called a "blood moon".

Indeed, the term "blood moon" was popularised in 2013 following the release of the book Four Blood Moons by Christian minister John Hagee. The atmosphere filters out most of the sun's blue light, so the moon looks red.

So where can you see the total lunar eclipse?

NASA has given all the details of past and the future lunar eclipses with eclipse diagrams and visibility maps.

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The Moon would enter the penumbral shadow of the Earth at about 10.53 pm IST.

"We have arranged five telescopes for people to watch it. People who wish to watch the eclipse at home can also watch it with naked eyes", he said.

Mars is brighter than it has been in years.

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.

Although it won't look almost as large as the blood moon, Mars will be its largest if you're looking through a telescope and close to its maximum brightness in our sky.

Mars, however, will appear brightest from July 27 to July 30, the space agency says.

Neil Mahrer, from Jersey Astronomy Club, said: 'What we are doing is taking some telescopes and binoculars to the south-east coast as it will not be that visible from our usual place at Les Creux, ' he said.

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