Get out your binoculars and your passports — that is, if you want to catch the longest total lunar eclipse of our lifetimes. Well, at least, of the century. On Friday, the celestial event will turn the moon from its normal pearly white into a beguiling red orange for more than 100 minutes, NASA says. But the bad news? It won’t be visible from North America. If you want to catch sight of this historic (and likely stunning) event, you’ll need to be in the Middle East, south or eastern Africa, or western and southeast Asia and India. And even then, you’ll have to hope that the weather holds.
Folks in those regions will actually be able to see the totality of the lunar eclipse — that is to say that for about an hour and 42 minutes, they’ll be able to see the blood red moon. However, the entire lunar eclipse, which begins when the moon moves through the Earth’s stratosphere, will be longer still at six hours and 13 minutes.
This coming total lunar eclipse is particularly special because for one, the eclipse will take place during a full moon, and secondly, the sun, Earth, and moon will all be perfectly aligned at the same time. Another thing to note is that the Earth is just about the farthest away from the sun it will get during its orbit. And because the moon will be passing right through the center of the Earth’s shadow, it will be blocked from the sun for an extensive amount of time. Theoretically, the longest a lunar eclipse could last would be one hour and 47 minutes — that means this eclipse will be just five minutes shy of the maximum.
Folks in Australia will be able to see the eclipse briefly as the moon sets, while those in parts of Brazil and Europe will see the eclipse during the moon’s rising. Alas, those of us in the U.S. will miss it because the eclipse will begin at around 1:14 p.m. ET, and the maximum period of totality will begin at 4:21 p.m. ET — at both times, it’ll be too bright to see the blood moon.
So when can Americans expect to see their next eclipse? A partial lunar eclipse will come our way next July, during which the southern half of the moon will pass into Earth’s shadow. It probably won’t be quite as stunning as the one we’ll miss, but it’s something to look forward to.
Published at Mon, 23 Jul 2018 22:07:28 +0000