Blood moon dazzles skygazers in centurys longest eclipse

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Skywatchers around much of the world are being treated to a complete lunar eclipse Friday. The total phase will last for 107 minutes from 02:30 04:13 a.m.

Although the lunar eclipse is expected to last 103 minutes, observers in the United Kingdom and Ireland will not be able to catch the start as the moon will still be below the horizon.

Where can you see the blood moon in July 2018? The almost two-hour will be visible to people in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, according to NASA. (Picture: EPA) The moon is seen during a lunar eclipse next to the German national flag on top of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany.

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Dr Gregory Brown, of the Royal Observatory Greenwich, explained how the rising full moon changed from shining silver to deep blood red during the eclipse.

Our neighbouring planet will appear unusually large and bright, a mere 57.7 million kilometres (35.9 million miles) from Earth on its elliptical orbit around the sun. The sky show will not be visible from North America, but there's still a way to catch all the action surrounding the "blood moon" online.

When the moon moves into the conical shaped shadow of the earth, it stops being illuminated by sun, and gets dark.

How often does a blood moon occur? The planet, which has been visible with the naked eye for more than a week, won't be as close to Earth for another 17 years.

"This is a total eclipse at a time in its orbit when it is close to being the farthest from Earth, or at apogee", she said.

The next total lunar eclipse in the United Kingdom will take place on January 19 2019.

It depends partly on "how cloudy or transparent those parts of the Earth's atmosphere are which enable sunlight to reach the moon", he told AFP.

"If liquid water and a significant atmosphere were present on the early Moon for long periods of time, we think the lunar surface would have been at least transiently habitable", said study co-author Dirk Schulze-Makuch from the Washington State University in the US. The centre's curator, Ramswaroop, said: "The lunar eclipse will likely be for around six hours".

After weeks of uninterrupted sunshine and cloudless skies, thunderstorms swept across swathes of the United Kingdom on Friday, veiling what was said to be the longest celestial event in the 21st century. But they must clock 72 years to observe the eclipse.