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Total Lunar Eclipse, July 2018

29 July 2018

Tens of thousands of skywatchers across the country sat watching for the longest "blood moon" of the century on Friday night, but many in the North were disappointed as they couldn't enjoy the astronomical delight because of a thick cloud cover. Incredible "blood" moon can be seen from different parts of the world.

The lunar eclipse was particularly special because it brought with it an eerie blood moon, with earth casting a shadow on the moon for 1 hour and 43 minutes.

Beside Lake Magadi, 100 km southwest of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, husband and wife team Susan Murabana and Chu Owen set up their high-powered telescope for the local community to watch the event.

"It's wonderful to have been able to see the eclipse with no protection, and hopefully it's inspired people to learn about astronomy".

No protective eye gear was necessary to observe the eclipse.

By 5.30am, the moon was totally eclipsed. - AFP The moon during the total lunar eclipse, also known as the "blood moon", taken as it passes through decorative lights in Kuwait City.

"It's the first time we've welcomed so many people - we were victims of our own success, but in a nice way", said Sabine André, president of the amateur astronomer's organisation of La Côte (Astrac). Widespread monsoon rainstorms and thick clouds hid the moon across much of India and its neighbors, which should have had a prime view. "I took a few photos but there was nothing but a streak of pink in the sky".

Dr Andrew Jacob, curator at Sydney Observatory, described the blood moon eclipse as "very nice", especially since an eclipse earlier in the year had been clouded out.

Some Britons had better luck however, with the Grenadier Guards stationed in Iraq posting images showing troops gazing at a red-sheened moon hanging in a clear sky. As for whether you can actually see the blood moon, that's another story.

The moon started turning red about 4:30am AEST Saturday morning. The perfectly clear evening sky meant that the views of the eclipse were stunning.

Although no longer directly illuminated by the Sun, the Moon still catches light filtered and bent by the Earth's atmosphere. Basically, this particular blood moon is not the one for you if you're an American who will be in America on Friday. 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. The long duration of this eclipse was partly because the moon made a near-central passage through Earth's umbra-the darkest, most central part of the shadow.

For Logan Govender, spokesperson for the Durban Astronomical Society, the eclipse would intrigue budding astronomers. "It is also moving slower than average because it is at its farthest point from the Earth in its elliptical orbit", NASA added in a statement online.

NASA, meanwhile, has called out social media hoaxers claiming that Mars will appear as big as the moon during the eclipse.

Total Lunar Eclipse, July 2018