Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Complete lunar eclipse begins, the longest of this century

Complete lunar eclipse begins, the longest of this century

The lunar eclipse will be visible in South America, East Africa, the West Asia and central Asia.

An astrophysicist busted myths surrounding eclipses, especially the longest celestial event of the century - the lunar eclipse occurring on Friday night. The full moon in communal, idealistic Aquarius arrives with extra potency as a total blood moon lunar eclipse, the second in a trio of galvanizing eclipses happening between July 12 and August 11 of this year.

Residents in certain parts of the world will witness a rare sight on Friday, as a lunar eclipse and the closest approach of the planet Mars in 15 years will both occur at the same time.

Lunar eclipses tend to last a few hours.

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While other colours in the spectrum are blocked and scattered by the Earth's atmosphere, red light tends to make it through easier.

There's going to be quite a show going on in Space on Friday night as a total lunar eclipse and Mars get together in the night sky.

It will pass into the shadow of the Earth, blocking the light from the sun and the atmosphere of the Earth will bend the light of the sun onto the moon.

"Totality will last for 103 minutes, making it the longest eclipse of the 21st century!" the Royal Astronomical Society said. The total eclipse is scheduled to end at 5.13 a.m.

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In less than six months, another total lunar eclipse will take place directly over the Western Hemisphere. That said, lunar myths form an integral part of Indian culture and religious customs, and enrich the entire anticipation and experience of the eclipse.

In fact, in the Book of Revelation chapter 6 verses 11 - 13, where verse 12 says: "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great quake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood".

With the Middle East nearly in the centre of the event, the UAE has one of the "best seats in the house", according to a local astronomer. The brighter Mars will remain very close to the eclipsed Moon in the sky on July 27-28 and can be spotted very easily with the naked eye, the statement said.

When the three celestial bodies are perfectly lined up, however, the Earth's atmosphere scatters blue light from the sun while refracting or bending red light onto the moon, usually giving it a rosy blush. The whole event will last just under four hours from beginning to end.

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At 7.13pm South African time, the moon will start moving into the penumbral (partial) shadow of the earth.

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