Blood moon dazzles star gazers in longest lunar eclipse of 21st century

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Blood moon dazzles star gazers in longest lunar eclipse of 21st century

PA has revealed the most commonly googled questions that people have been searching for with regards to the upcoming eclipse. - AFP People watch the blood moon rising at Arpoador beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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

According to astronomers, the phenomenon also saw mars move close to earth, making it brighter and bigger than usual.

Fabian said, "If you were standing on the moon in this eclipse, you would see the sun and then the earth would come in the way and blot out the sun". When this happens, the moon turns rusty orange or deep red in color and is how it earned the nickname of a blood moon eclipse. When the moon passes behind the shadow of the Earth, the sun's light is refracted and gives the moon its red appearance.

Total lunar eclipse is very rare and only 30 per cent of all lunar eclipses are total.

This gives the moon a unusual red glow as it disappears into the Earth's shadow. "The next total lunar eclipse that will last that long will not occur until 2123", he noted.

Skywatchers around much of the world have begun watching a complete lunar eclipse that is the longest of this century which coincides with Mars' closest approach in 15 years.

Rio de Janeiro's spectators cheered when the blood moon emerged from the fog.

The most dramatic is the total lunar eclipse, in which the earth's shadow covers the moon.

Astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted: "A partially eclipsed Moon, with our neighbouring planet in the background, just before diving into Earth's atmosphere".

"The moon is passing very close to the center of Earth's shadow, so it is passing on a chord that nearly equals the full diameter of the shadow", Steve Edberg, an astronomer who recently retired from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told the Los Angeles Times.

People in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa and Asia will have the best view, while the final stages of the eclipse after sunset will be visible in parts of South America.

For example, when the moon is shrouded by the shadow of the Earth, it is plunged into total darkness and the surface temperature drops dramatically.

For about half the world, the moon was partly or fully in Earth's shadow from 17:14 to 23:28 GMT - six hours and 14 minutes in all.

During this total eclipse, the Moon - earth's natural satellite - will turn striking shade of red.

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