Blood moon likely on Friday as longest lunar eclipse takes place

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The longest total lunar eclipse of the 20th century happened on July 16, 2000, according to EarthSky. But if you live in South America, eastern Africa, the Middle East and central Asia, you're in luck. The entire event, from the moment Earth's shadow starts to fall upon the moon's edge to the time when the bright full moon emerges, will take nearly 4 hours.

The total phase of the "blood moon" eclipse of July 27 will last 1 hour and 43 minutes, during which Earth's natural satellite will turn a spectacular red or ruddy-brown color. "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".

On July 28 (AEST), the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century will be visible across much of the globe, including Australia.

Stages and time of the lunar eclipse that will be visible in Singapore
Stages and time of the lunar eclipse that will be visible in Singapore

In a attractive coincidence, on July 27, Mars will also appear large and bright in the sky as it moves towards its closest approach to Earth in 15 years.

This happens because blue light undergoes stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color highlighted as sunlight passes through our atmosphere and casts it on the moon.

As for a solar eclipse, you've got a longer wait. "So during totality, those of us on Earth are watching the moon fall in to our shade".

A super blue blood moon rises behind the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple on the Acropolis of Athens, Greece, on January 31, 2018. It should be visible in Indian cities like Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, etc, but the weather forecast will end up playing a role in this.

The full moon in July is also known as "mini-moon" because it is at the farthest distance from the Earth and seems small. This one will be visible for almost four hours, as the moon passes through the centre of Earth's shadow.

In an online sermon titled "Prophecy Alert: Blood Moon Is Rising", the popular US Evangelical Pastor Paul Begley said he believes the eclipse is a sign of the "end of days", specifically because it comes in the same year that the US moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. "The total eclipse is also referred to as the Blood Moon because of the characteristic way in which the moon glows in reddish-orange colour".

"If you were on the Moon, you would see a total solar eclipse as the Earth would be blocking the Sun".

He pointed out that the moon's appearance greatly depended on atmospheric conditions around the Earth at the time of the eclipse. The entire event - beginning as the moon passes through the Earth's stratosphere - will last about six hours and 13 minutes, Petro said.