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

There might once have been life on... the Moon? Yes, say researchers

This eclipse happens to coincide with the moon's apogee, a point in the moon's orbit where it is farthest from the earth.

Cool. So where can I see the blood moon?

A total lunar eclipse roughly occurs once or twice a year when a full moon passes through the centre of Earth's shadow. The last time Mars was bigger and brighter than this was in 2003, when it was less than 56 million kilometres away from Earth.

Another factor that is playing a role in the eclipse's duration is the path that the moon is taking through the Earth's shadow.

This is what gives the phenomenon the name blood moon, though Mark Bailey of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland said the color could vary greatly. During Friday's eclipse, the moon will be passing nearly directly through the middle of the shadow, maximising the time that moon spends in darkness. Friday's will be long, lasting 1 hour and 43 minutes.

That means anyone who is on the side of the earth that is experiencing nighttime will be able to see the lunar eclipse whereas a solar eclipse can only be seen by the people, who are where the moon's shadow falls.

Friday's blood moon will be complemented by a particularly bright Mars on Friday night.

In the United Kingdom, the Blood Moon will already appear eclipsed when it peaks over the horizon sometime around 8.50pm BST.

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"Our event is sold out, we have about a couple of hundred people that are booked in to come and watch it with us", said Andrew Jacob, curator at the Sydney Observatory, located right near the Harbour Bridge.

"We should have a coppery red tint on the moon with Mars the "Red Planet" just next to it, very bright and with a slight orange hue itself", he said. However, each lunar Eclipse can be observed from more than half of the globe. "It's very hard to capture one", Steel said.

According to the research, the first event was shortly after the moon started to form from a debris disk 4 billion years ago, as it was releasing water vapor and other types of volatile gas in massive quantities. The moon will take on a red or brown colour during a selenelion because it will be eclipsed by the earth.

The moon is expected to turn reddish as against the familiar whitish appearance in the period of totality.

As if that was not enough, sky-watchers should get a glorious view of Jupiter in the south-west and have a chance of catching the International Space Station (ISS) sailing overhead.

The areas of our planet from which this can be experienced were very limited, because the total lunar eclipse must be ongoing at the time of moonset and sunrise.

"If you were standing on the moon in this eclipse, you would see the sun and then the earth would come in the way and blot out the sun", said Fabian.

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