Blood moon rises but clouds spoil party for many

Blood moon rises but clouds spoil party for many

Blood moon rises but clouds spoil party for many

The moon may turn a red or coppery colour during the total portion of an eclipse. The partial eclipse will be seen around 11.54pm on Friday, while the total eclipse will be visible around 1am on Saturday.

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Skywatchers are in for a rare treat Friday: the longest lunar eclipse of the century.

As the sunlight has to travel around Earth, if there is a lot of particulate matter in the air then it will encourage greater rates of refraction, making the moon appear red. There will also be some time before and after when the moon is in the lighter part of Earth's shadow, which is called the penumbra. "In the middle of a lunar eclipse it can look as if a red planet has taken up residence near the Earth - they are both eerie and attractive", said Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society in London.

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Our neighbouring planet will appear unusually large and bright, a mere 57.7 million kilometres (35.9 million miles) from Earth on its elliptical orbit around the sun. But the indirect sunlight is refracted by the earth's atmosphere.

The eclipse won't be visible to viewers in North America, except via webcasts.

After weeks of uninterrupted sunshine and cloudless skies, thunderstorms swept across swathes of the United Kingdom on Friday, veiling what was said to be the longest celestial event in the 21st century. Coincidentally, Mars was also at its brightest, putting two bright red objects in the sky.

The fullest eclipse was visible from Europe, Russia, Africa, the Middle East, and much of Asia and Australia though clouds blocked out the moon in some places.

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As the eclipsed passed over Abu Dhabi, the Moon could be seen behind the minarets of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

When the moon moved into the conical shadow of the earth, it went from being illuminated by the sun to being dark. "If you want a close-up view of the moon as it turns red, a pair of binoculars is helpful". "If you were on the Moon, you would see a total solar eclipse as the Earth would be blocking the Sun".

Not all the lunar eclipses will lead to a "bloody" show.

The next lunar eclipse of such a length is due in 2123.

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"This is a total eclipse at a time in its orbit when it is close to being the farthest from Earth, or at apogee", she said.

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