Longest “blood moon” takes place tonight

Have you ever seen a “blood moon”? Here comes to a chance for you! The longest “blood moon” lunar eclipse of this century will take place tonight. The full moon is going to pass through the shadow of the Earth. The whole process will take 103 minutes and the moon will turn blood red and ochre.

You can watch the eclipse without any professional equipment. But, if you would like to watch clearly, it is better for you to bring along binoculars, which will give you a closer view of it.

The editor of Astronomy Ireland Magazine, David Moore, says that the spectacle is going to last for nearly two hours.

“There are three phases to the eclipse for Ireland tonight. First of all the sun will set and the moon will rise totally eclipsed already at 9.30pm. The total eclipse lasts until 10.15pm and then from 10.15pm to 11.20pm the moon slowly slips out of the Earth’s shadow. That is one of the most spectacular events, you’ll see the curved shadow of the Earth on the moon.”

This rare celestial event, is going to be in the the first  in the 21st century. It will show the moon passing through Earth’s darkest shadow and take on a red sheen. The sun will set around 9.30pm. Moon rise will be at 9.27pm in Belfast, with mid-eclipse occuring at 9.21pm and the “total phase ending at around 10.13pm.

Although the eclipse is expected to last 103 minutes in total, Irish observers will not be able to catch the start of it as the moon will still be below the horizon. The Royal Observatory Greenwich, Dr Gregory Brown, said,” We will miss a section of the eclipse as the moon will be below our horizon when it starts. Therefore, south-eastern observers will be able to see the eclipse longer than that of in north-western ones.”

He told us that,  “As the entire eclipse will occur when the moon is fairly close to the horizon, the main thing to ensure is that you have a clear sightline to the south east.”

It is better for observers to try to find an open space. If you miss it, the next total lunar eclipse will take place on January 19 2019.

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Chloe Li

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