'Blood moon' on its way - with God of War in tow

Ismael LynchJul 27, 2018

If it's clear, towards the end of the eclipse have a look for the planet Mars, which will be about six degrees (roughly the width of three fingers held at arm's length) below the moon.

Nigerians from every nook and cranny of this country can see one of the greatest astronomical spectacles of the 21st century tomorrow.

The red variant of our only natural satellite will show its colours on Friday, turning from its normal friendly silver-grey, during the longest lunar eclipse of the 21 century.

North America will be out of luck, though, since the moon will be below the horizon. The moon will appear blood red as it will be completely eclipsed by the Earth starting 8:14 PM on Friday.

Another factor that is playing a role in the eclipse's duration is the path that the moon is taking through the Earth's shadow. That's a full 1 hour 43 minutes, which is just four minutes shy of the longest total lunar eclipse possible, according to EarthSky.

The eclipse will be visible from Europe, Africa and the Middle East between sunset and midnight on July 27 and then between midnight and sunrise on July 28 in much of Asia and Australia.

This event is not to be confused with a total solar eclipse like the one that was visible across a swath of the continental United States last summer. Dr Edward Bloomer, also an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: "Although Mars being in opposition is a regular event, the elliptical orbits of the planets mean the distance between them can vary quite a bit". The other regions that share this cosmic treat are the Middle East, parts of Russian Federation and Kazakhstan, and the eastern half of Africa, but at least part of the eclipse can be seen from nearly everywhere in the world except North America.

What you'll see during the whole phase of the lunar eclipse will be the Moon steadily getting darker and darker before it quickly turns a dark red colour.

The partial eclipse begins when the moon first touches the penumbra or outer shadow of Earth.

"Whether life ever arose on the Moon, or was transported to it from elsewhere, is of course highly speculative and can only be addressed by an aggressive future program of lunar exploration".

The Delta Aquariids meteor shower peaks on July 30, but the light pollution from the moon will make it hard to see numerous dimmer meteors on the night that the shower reaches its peak.

They have interpreted passages in the Bible ("The Sun will turn into darkness, and the Moon into blood, before the great and bad day of the Lord comes") as evidence.

But from 10.15pm until 11.20pm, the sun will have descended a bit and the moon will have risen further creating a better image for viewers of the eclipse. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth and moon line up perfectly, casting Earth's shadow on the moon.

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