Longest lunar eclipse: Mars coming closest ever to Earth in 15 years

Longest lunar eclipse: Mars coming closest ever to Earth in 15 years

Longest lunar eclipse: Mars coming closest ever to Earth in 15 years

People in Qatar, like elsewhere in the world, will experience an exciting cosmic phenomenon on Friday night, July 27, when the earth will overshadow the moon causing the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century. Even better for us Beijingers is that the eclipse will be totally visible throughout its 103-minute duration (should the smog and freak weather we've had as of late hold off).

This occurs when an eclipsed moon could be seen on one horizon, while the rising sun could be observed on the other.

The eclipse will last for one hour, 43 minutes and 34 seconds, which will make it the longest this century; including the penumbral time, it will last for three hours and 55 minutes.

The next time there is a total lunar eclipse this long will not be until June 9, 2123.

Before the closest approach, Mars will be in opposition on Friday, which means Mars and the Sun will appear in opposite positions as viewed from Earth.

In a lovely coincidence, on July 27, Mars will also appear large and bright in the sky as it moves towards its closest approach to Earth in 15 years.

A "blood moon", meanwhile, gets its name from the reddish hue it turns when the moon passes through the earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse.

The next total lunar eclipse happens on January 21, 2019, according to Pagasa.

The total lunar eclipse will begin on the nightside of the Earth on Friday, with some places seeing a redder moon in the early hours of Saturday, July 28.

People in areas experiencing the total eclipse may also want to spend a few moments looking at other parts of the sky for some shooting stars. Some superstitions say that expectant women should not touch their belly during the lunar eclipse, or it will bring a birthmark on the child.

The lunar eclipse happens July 27 and if you're headed toward South America, eastern Africa, the Middle East or Central Asia, you have a chance to see the celestial show.

The eclipse in its various phases, invisible to the naked eye, begins at 10.45 pm and ends at 4.59 am on Saturday, July 28.

Well, sky-watchers in the Americas are out of luck this time around.

The total lunar eclipse and blood moon will play out in select regions of the world, as North America and the north-western parts of South America will not be able to witness the event. However, in North America can not be seen. Colours at the blue end of the spectrum - like violet, blue and green, get scattered by earth's atmosphere while the longer wavelength, red end of the spectrum gets directed on to the surface of the moon.

Do you need special glasses to look at the moon?

Related news