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

The moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse as seen from Dresden Germany Friday

Stargazers in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America were able to see at least part of the total lunar eclipse. Friday's eclipse will offer sky-watchers more time than usual to look.

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.

A Mars opposition occurs when the Earth passes between the sun and the red planet and all three are arranged in a almost straight line, making the two planets also the closest to each other. (There was also a blood moon prophecy about the apocalypse approaching four years ago, so, uh, check that out if you're interested.) When a partial lunar eclipse occurs, the moon does not appear as red or as striking, so these are not called blood moons.

The "totality" period, where light from the Moon was totally obscured, lasted for one hour, 43 minutes.

Skywatchers in New South Wales and Queensland lost sight of the moon near the end of the eclipse but the rest of the country was treated to the entire eclipse.

The moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse behind the Saentis in Luzern Switzerland Friday
The moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse behind the Saentis in Luzern Switzerland Friday

The blood moon phenomenon, which has caused some Christian fundamentalists to denounce the celestial event as a harbinger of doom, occurs when the moon passes behind the shadow of the Earth. And that is why it's also known as the blood moon. The sky show will not be visible from North America, but there's still a way to catch all the action surrounding the "blood moon" online.

Unfortunately for us here in MI, this eclipse will only be visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

The moon which is described by scientists as the Earth's natural satellite turned a striking shade of red or ruddy brown, during the total eclipse. Just before the lunar eclipse event, the moon will reach its apogee, its farthest point from Earth.

It will be the longest-lasting eclipse this century. The Moon will be gradually covered by the Earth's shadow and the totality phase will begin at 1h 00m IST on July 28. This is the longest because for the last four billion years the moon has been moving away from the Earth and has now reached the ideal spot for the lunar alignment.

The opposition of Mars takes place approximately every two years, but due to the very elliptical orbit of Mars, the distance between Earth and Mars varies significantly during each encounter, it said.

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