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

Moon gazers in for a treat on Friday

Moon gazers in for a treat on Friday

The best view of it will come after 11.20pm on Friday night.

A few minutes after 8am on Saturday (NZ time) - and weather permitting - people in southern areas of the country should be able to view a rare celestial event called a selenelion. During a total Eclipse of the Moon, the range of shading and the intensity of colour vary enormously. "We've all caught on to this lovely word "blood-moon". That means Mars and the sun will be on exact opposite sides of Earth.

"This smaller and slower-moving full moon takes more time to cross the Earth's shadow than does a full moon that is closer to Earth and moving faster in orbit". Earth witnessed a "super blue blood moon" on the night of January 31. Also known as a blood moon, this occurs when the sun, Earth and moon align perfectly, putting the moon in the Earth's shadow.

So why would the moon appear blood-red during the eclipse?

It depends partly on "how cloudy or transparent those parts of the Earth's atmosphere are which enable sunlight to reach the moon", Bailey told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

However, the partial eclipse will be visible for nearly four hours.

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The eclipse is slated to last almost 1 hour 43 minutes - the longest in about a century. However, UK observers will be slightly late to the party, as the moon will already be in the Earth's shadow when it appears at around 9pm.

Long ago, Earth's moon may have had conditions in which life could arise, according to a study published Monday in the journal Astrobiology.

The two planets will be just 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometers) apart next Tuesday.

To help make sure that you're all set for the cosmic event, we got some tips from professional photographer and Canon ambassador David Noton.

"When you first spot Mars rising in the east after sunset, you'll be startled by how bright it looks", Diana Hannikainen, Sky & Telescope's observing editor, said in a statement.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is easy and safe to enjoy with a naked eye, says Francisco Diego, an astronomer from University College London.

Complete lunar eclipse begins, the longest of this century
At 7.13pm South African time , the moon will start moving into the penumbral (partial) shadow of the earth. In less than six months, another total lunar eclipse will take place directly over the Western Hemisphere.


"The moment clouds enter the picture, we lose our chance", Raymundo said.

In Metro Manila, Manila Bay will have one of the best vistas, he said.

A total lunar eclipse is said to appear from July 27 to 28.

The moon is expected to turn reddish as against the familiar whitish appearance in the period of totality.

The partial eclipse will begin at 8.30pm, and the total eclipse will be between 9.20pm and 10.13pm.

The places a selenelion can be seen are limited because the total lunar eclipse must happen at the time of moonset and sunrise, according to Dr Duncan Steel from the the Centre for Space Science Technology in Alexandra, Central Otago.

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