Mars and a blood moon, with 'longest lunar eclipse of century'

The total lunar eclipse will follow the super blue blood moon of January 31, which too was a once-in-a-lifetime event when a supermoon, lunar eclipse and blue moon combine together at the same time. So you should have a chance to see the Strawberry Moon peaking between the clouds that will be hanging around for the next few days.

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

A consolation prize for us here in the United States will be a bright Mars alongside the almost full moon just a few days after the eclipse on July 31. The last lunar eclipse, which took place on January 31, lasted for an hour and 17 minutes.

According to NASA this is the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century.

New York City - 8:06 p.m. It will be long because there is both a full moon and a moon apogee happening simultaneously.

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The Longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century is set to coincide with bright Mars at its closest to Earth in 15 years.

Doomsday preachers have been reportedly suggesting that July's blood moon heralds the end of the world, as biblical passages talk about the moon turning the colour of blood prior to the apocalypse - and we have had several such events recently.

Astronomers in Australia and New Zealand will have to wait until the morning of July 28 to see our rocky satellite eclipsed at moonset. 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. This will be the fourth of five eclipses this year and the second of the lunar variety. You can picture the umbra as a cone extending from Earth in the opposite direction to the sun, Petro explained.

The low arc of the June full moon across the sky means moonlight must travel through more of the Earth's atmosphere, which gives it an orange or yellow tint.

Mars close approaches happen about every 26 months, and is the point where Mars and Earth are closest to each other in their orbits around the Sun.

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