How to watch the longest 'blood moon' eclipse of the century

How to watch the longest 'blood moon' eclipse of the century

During a total eclipse, the Earth completely obscures sunlight from directly hitting the moon as the sun, the Earth and the moon will be in ideal alignment.

The eclipse will occur for one hour and 43 minutes in the early hours of Saturday, meaning you have plenty of time to see it!

The eclipse will be visible in its entirety from the Indian Ocean and surrounding countries, from India to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most of Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, most of China, western Africa and most of Europe will see the total phase of the eclipse.

Then there are partial eclipses, where just part of the moon passes through the dark umbra, or shadow.

For those in areas from Whanganui to Wellington, there would be just a slim chance of glimpsing the totally-eclipsed moon as the Sun peeked above the horizon.

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.

"What we're seeing is essentially all the sunrises and sunsets on the Earth, dramatically projected onto the surface of the moon", Australian National University astronomer Brad Tucker told AAP.

Total lunar eclipse is very rare and only 30 per cent of all lunar eclipses are total. This causes the Earth's atmosphere to filter out most of the blue light, making the moon appear red. According to him, the moon orbits around Earth, while Earth orbits around the sun. Scientists call this kind of moon a "blood moon". South-eastern observers will be able to see the eclipse for somewhat longer than north-western ones.

How to watch the longest 'blood moon' eclipse of the century
How to watch the longest 'blood moon' eclipse of the century

The Earth's red shadow will begin creeping across the moon at 1:15 p.m. The only light which reaches moon and gets reflected back is the one which is refracted by the earth's atmosphere.

"However instead of turning black as you might expect, the atmosphere of the Earth bends the light of the sun onto the moon causing it to turn a deep red colour, hence this event's somewhat ominous moniker".

Global News will be live-streaming the eclipse for viewers around the world beginning at 3 p.m.

Lunar eclipses occur from two to four times a year, but not all of them are visible.

On the same night and over the coming days, Mars will be at its closest point to Earth since 2003 - visible as a "bright red star" where skies are clear.

When the full moon moves into Earth's shadow, it will darken, but it won't disappear.

It coincides not only with Mars's close approach, but with what he described as a "procession of planets" - a line-up of our celestial neighbours that will give skywatchers a particularly good view of Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

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