The longest lunar eclipse of the century will occur this week
Sky gazers should now gear up for the moment that might take a long to occur next –yes, the longest lunar eclipse of the century is about to happen later this week.
The eclipse will occur on the night of July 27 into the early hours of July 28. According to EarthSky, it’s the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. “The total phase of the eclipse – called the totality – spans 1 hour 42 minutes and 57 seconds,” said EarthSky’s Bruce McClure.
The best views will be in Africa and Asia, but folks in Europe, South America and Australia will still get partial views. But, North America is the only continent on Earth where it won’t be visible.
During the eclipse, the moon will appear red, giving it the nickname “blood moon.”
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon and the sun are on exact opposite sides of Earth, according to NASA. When this happens, Earth blocks the sunlight that normally reaches the moon. Instead of that sunlight hitting the moon’s surface, Earth’s shadow falls on it.
Although the moon is in Earth’s shadow, some sunlight still reaches the moon. The sunlight passes through Earth’s atmosphere, which causes Earth’s atmosphere to filter out most of the blue light.
This makes the moon appear red to people on Earth. This month, Mars will be at its closest to Earth since 2003.
The next lunar eclipse that will be visible in North America will be next winter: Jan. 21, 2019.