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'Blood moon' to appear for 21st century's longest lunar eclipse

28 July 2018

While the full eclipse will be over 6 hours, the total lunar eclipse 2018 will last for 1 hour and 43 minutes.

Curiosity and awe have greeted a complete lunar eclipse, the longest one of this century and visible in much of the world.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the sun and the moon, casting a deep shadow over the moon's surface. Some light, though, will still reach it because it is bent by the earth's atmosphere.

"I thought it was very pretty and I liked the planet Mars even more, which you could see right next to the moon", said Talita Oliveira, 34.

Mars is also at its closest approach to Earth this week since 2003, making it appear bigger and brighter.

When asked if the eclipse might be an omen of some sort, Fabian, who said he will try to observe the eclipse, laughed: "Absolutely not".

In Germany, sky gazers will have a chance to see the Friday's "blood moon" at approximately 22:22 hours local time (20:22 UTC) and clear skies are expected for much of the country, except eastern and southeastern Germany.

An effect created on the slow shutter speed showing the the moon turn red during the lunar eclipse, in Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India.

The blood moon from Terry Hills, New South Wales.

Prof O'Brien explained that people in the United Kingdom would "need to have a clear south-eastern horizon as the Moon comes up" in order to see it.

"It is a conjunction of rare and interesting phenomena", said Pascal Descamps, astronomer at the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Calculation of eEhemeris (IMCCE) within the Observatory of Paris-PSL. The "little planet" image on the left also shows the approximate size of Earth compared to the moon. Though there won't be an eclipse that lasts as long for another century, you'll still have plenty of other opportunities to witness a blood moon in your lifetime. There are many factors for this, one being that the moon will be at the farthest point from Earth in its orbit.

Unlike solar eclipse, lunar eclipses are visible with the naked eye and people do not need to wear eye protection.

Stargazers in Northern Ireland could miss out on a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the lunar eclipse when it appears on Friday. The Bible contains references to the moon turning into blood and some ultra-Orthodox Jews consider lunar eclipses ominous and a cause for moral contemplation.

But fear not, because the stars above still have a special event planned just for you.