Science

Longest total lunar eclipse in 11 years will turn moon blood red tonight

Image of last total lunar eclipse which occurred in December 2010
Image of last total lunar eclipse which occurred in December 2010
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The longest total lunar eclipse since 2000 will begin to occur this evening and last until midnight, providing stargazers a rare opportunity to catch this prolonged wonderful spectacle. The eclipse begins at 6.24pm (IST) this evening, although it will not be properly visible until sunset at around 9.55pm tonight, at which stage the moon will turn blood red in colour.

[Update: You can watch the Lunar Eclipse live here]

Weather forecasters predict favourable conditions for viewing the eclipse in Ireland, as skies are set to clear later this evening in most areas. Much of Britain will be overcast however. The best viewing points are those away from sources of light pollution, so it’s advisable to escape towns and cities in favour of the countryside to view the eclipse in its full glory.

Image of last total lunar eclipse which occurred in December 2010
Image of last total lunar eclipse which occurred in December 2010

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth, sun and moon align, causing the Earth to block out the sun’s direct light and casting of a shadow across the surface of the moon. The moon will then begin to glow blood red as indirect sunlight in filtered through the Earth’s atmosphere, where only red/orange light will be allowed pass through.

The lunar eclipse can be seen by those in east Africa, the Middle East, central Asia, western Australia and most parts of Europe. North American enthusiasts will miss out as the eclipse will occur there during daylight hours.

The next total lunar eclipse will happen in 2018.

Image courtesy of hharryus on Flickr

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.