The eclipse's totality, when the moon passes through Earth's shadow, will last for 1 hour, 43 minutes, the longest for a lunar eclipse this century. The total phase will be end after midnight, while the partial phase will be end at 1:19am, Saturday, finally the penumbral phase will end at 2:28am, astronomer at Qatar Calendar House (QCH) Dr Beshir Marzouk said. During this time, the moon will be under the complete shadow of the Earth for one hour and forty-three minutes. The sunlight is detoured by the Earth's atmosphere, due to the presence of a blanket of air, hits the darkened Moon. Because the Earth passes between the sun and the moon during this cosmic event, the light of the sun has to pass through our planet's atmosphere, casting a shadow on the moon.
Depending on the weather conditions in your area, it may be rusty, brick-colored or blood-red.
"However instead of turning black as you might expect, the atmosphere of the Earth bends the light of the sun onto the moon causing it to turn a deep red colour". "You will see the sunrise and sunset of the Earth lighting up the surface of the Moon - over 350,000 km away. If there are extra particles in the atmosphere, from say a recent volcanic eruption, the moon will appear a darker shade of red".
Mr Birkinshaw added: "To look for the Moon you would have to face the direction directly opposite the sun".
"Watching that interaction, watching our atmosphere play a role in this visual and very lovely spectacle, there's also science in there, the same science which took hundreds of years to work out why the sky is blue", Prof Coward said. The fact that the moon appears so small and takes longer to pass through Earth's shadow is also why the eclipse lasts longer.
The next lengthy lunar eclipse is scheduled for 2123. The peak of the eclipse will occur at 9.22 p.m.
Stardome Observatory astronomy educator Josh Kirkley said New Zealanders wanting to see the blood moon should get a clear view of the western horizon and keep their eyes peeled from 6.25am until the moon sets at 7.20am.
EarthSky.org has a map showing more exact times. It will not be visible in North America and much of the Pacific Ocean because there it will be morning or afternoon.
Viewers in the Middle East, eastern Africa, southern Asia and India will be in prime position to witness the entire eclipse.
Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is quite safe to look at with the naked eye.
Our red moon will have some company Friday.
And last but not least: Mars just happens to be in opposition on Friday night as well. It will appear unusually large and bright, a mere 35.9 million miles from Earth on its elliptical orbit around the sun.
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The longest lunar eclipse of the century is coming Friday
If you're in eastern Africa, central Asia or the Middle East, you're in an optimal geographical position to view the Blood Moon . Mars is very bright and red throughout July and August this year, but the eclipse night will be a very special night.
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