'Blood moon' on Friday longest eclipse

There might once have been life on... the Moon? Yes, say researchers

"Meanwhile the greatest eclipse will be visible at 01-22 PST on July 28 which is going to be a historical moment", the PMD official said.

The phenomenon, known as perihelic opposition, will make the red planet appear larger and brighter than normal in the night sky.

"This does not herald the apocalypse: seeing a lunar eclipse and Mars in the sky is something people should enjoy rather than worry about medieval superstitions".

The Earth is in waiting of a total lunar eclipse. Some are claiming this to be the longest lunar eclipse of the century and we will be able to view the whole thing right here in Kwa-Zulu-Natal.

The total eclipse - when the moon is fully inside the red-hued umbra of Earth - starts at 19:30 UT and ends at 21:13 UT. The partial eclipse will end at around 3.45 am.

"Sometimes, the moon passes through the lighter part of Earth's shadow, causing a penumbral eclipse and total eclipse occur when the Earth completely block Sun rays from reaching the moon", he said.

Short wavelengths like blue and violet bounce off the Earth, while longer wavelengths like red and orange pass through, leading the moon to glow in those colours. For those unaware, a lunar eclipse is a phenomenon the moon passes behind the Earth and into its shadow, and sunlight is unable to reach it.

As it lines up with the Earth and sun, the rising full moon will darken and change from silver to rusty or terrible blood red. On Friday, the longest blood moon eclipse will coincide with Mars' closest approach to Earth in 15 years in a thrilling astronomical double bill.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is easy and safe to enjoy with a naked eye, says Francisco Diego, an astronomer from University College London.

"All eclipses are spectacular", the society's Robert Massey added. Best of all, it will be observed in the Eastern part of Africa, the middle East and Central Asia.

Awareness sessions will be organised in schools, colleges and wherever possible in the state.

KSSTM telescopes will be available for viewing from 11.30 pm to 3 am.

Fortunately, Indians will be able to watch the total eclipse from start to finish. "Lunar Eclipse is a mere celestial event and has no harmful effects on human beings". Speciality of this lunar eclipse is that it is the longest lunar of the century.

A blue moon is when two full moons happen in the same month. According to him, the moon orbits around Earth, while Earth orbits around the sun. "From that point onwards, the shadow of the Earth will slowly retreat across the lunar surface until the partial eclipse comes to completion".

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