Complete lunar eclipse begins, the longest of this century

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Complete lunar eclipse begins, the longest of this century

The UAE Space Agency is sponsoring a series of observation points at a number of astronomy centres throughout the UAE, to provide residents with the opportunity to witness the longest total lunar eclipse of the century on Friday, 27th July.

On the east coast of Australia, the eclipse began at 3.14am (AEST), with the Earth's shadow slowly taking a bite out of the pearly white full moon.

"Such long duration of total lunar eclipses had occurred on July 16, 2000 for a totality duration of one hour 46 minutes and another on June 15, 2011 for a totality duration of one hour 40 minutes".

Mars appeared unusually large and bright, a mere 57.7 million kilometres (35.9 million miles) from Earth on its elliptical orbit around the sun.

Billions of people across the world today are eyeing the sky tonight to witness one of the rarest yet interesting, picturesque, spectacle celestial the total lunar eclipse.

You can view the "blood red" Moon from 1:15am to 2:43am.

A super blood moon in Malmö in 2015. Friday's blood moon won't be as big
A super blood moon in Malmö in 2015. Friday's blood moon won't be as big

Mars, also known as the Red Planet, will share the skies with the Micro Blood Moon eclipse on July 27/28, 2018. While many in the world consider this just a scientific or astronomical celestial activity, however, in India, lunar eclipse has a significant importance in terms of believes and practices. "At most perihelic oppositions, including this one, the planet retreats to the belly of the ecliptic low in the southern sky".

The eclipse is estimated to start in India at 11.44 pm on Friday evening and the total lunar eclipse 2018 is expected to begin at 1 am.

North America will nearly completely miss out on the blood moon. The entire eclipse, including the penumbral and partial phases, will take six hours and 14 minutes from start to finish. During this eclipse, the Moon will pass through the central part of the Earth's umbral shadow. The eclipse will continue till 4:58am though the effect will not look as great. It happens because, when the sunlight enters Earth's atmosphere which is blocking, the light gets refracted in such a way that the green to violet wavelengths on the visible spectrum scatter more strongly than the red, thus giving the moon a reddish cast. In fact, this phenomenon of the moon appearing small is called micro moon.

And unlike solar eclipses, especially the total solar eclipse in August 2017, the lunar eclipse is safe to view with the naked eye or binoculars.

"Until today I thought Mars, Jupiter and the other planets were in the imagination of scientists", Purity Sailepo, 16, told AFP. It wasn't visible in the USA, but it could be seen from places like South America, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

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