Lunar eclipse: Century’s longest ‘blood moon’ delights skygazers


Skywatchers around the world have witnessed the longest “blood moon” eclipse of the 21st Century.

As it rose, during this total eclipse, Earth’s natural satellite turned a striking shade of red or ruddy brown.

The “totality” period, where light from the Moon was totally obscured, lasted for one hour, 43 minutes.

At least part of the eclipse was visible from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, most of Asia and South America.

In the UK, where the weather allowed, the Moon could be seen to turn red – fully eclipsed by Earth – from when it rose at 21:00 until 22:15 BST.

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.

Why did the eclipse last so long?

The Moon passed right through the centre of the Earth’s shadow, at the shadow’s widest point.

“This is actually almost as long as a lunar eclipse could be,” Prof Tim O’Brien, an astrophysicist at University of Manchester, explained.

It coincided 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 gave skywatchers a particularly good view of Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

source: BBC

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