As it was announced by NASA, a total lunar eclipse that will take place on July 27th is going to last for one hour and 43 minutes, making it the longest lasting event of this type in the 21st century. According to some reports, during the “blood moon eclipse”, the moon will change its color to spectacular red or ruddy-brown.
The total lunar eclipse and how it happens
For the total lunar eclipse to happen, the moon has to pass through Earth’s shadow. The length of the event depends on the moon’s trajectory – the closer it gets to the center of the shadow, the longer such lunar eclipse lasts. This is exactly why the last event of this type on January 30st 2018 was almost 30 minutes shorter, as the moon crossed the southern part of Earth’s shadow. The same will happen on January 21st 2019, when the moon will pass to the north of the shadow’s center, which will result in a total lunar eclipse lasting for a little bit more than one hour.
According to the scientists, the longest possible lunar eclipse can last for one hour and 47 minutes. On July 16th 2000, we almost witnessed it, as the event lasted for one hour and 46.4 minutes, making it the longest total lunar eclipse of the 20th century.
The moon will not appear completely dark, but instead it will turn deep red or reddish brown. No special equipment is needed to observe lunar eclipses, as they can be viewed directly with the naked eye or a telescope.
Where can this event be observed?
We have some bad news for amateur astronomers from the U.S., as unfortunately, the upcoming total lunar eclipse will not be visible in North America. However, it will be possible to witness this rare event in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia, and in some parts of South America.
Another event will take place on July 31st when Mars will reach the point in its orbit with the shortest distance to Earth of about 35.8 million miles. Prior to that, between July 27th – July 30th, the red planet will appear the brightest.