Kiwis to get glimpse of blood moon

St Helens Star

A lunar eclipse or chandra grahan occurs when the Earth while orbiting the Sun comes between the Sun and the Moon, stealing the Moon's shine by blocking the sunlight that is reflected by the natural satellite.

In less than six months, another total lunar eclipse will take place directly over the Western Hemisphere.

Sometimes they are penumbral eclipses, where the moon passes through Earth's fainter outer shadow, which isn't quite visible to the human eye.

During the total eclipse (which begins at 7:30 am, NZST) the Moon is much fainter than it usually appears, and is coloured between dark brown and blood red, leading to various superstitions about the "Blood Moon".

The total eclipse will last for one hour and 43 minutes, according to the U.K. Royal Astronomical Society.

Watch above for more details.

Pick a geographic location and search for all eclipses visible from that spot over several thousand years.

When the Earth passes in front of the moon, it rapidly causes its surface temperature to drop - causing lunar rocks to suddenly freeze and crack, releasing gas. The only light which reaches moon and gets reflected back is the one which is refracted by the earth's atmosphere.

While lunar eclipses are treated with curiosity and wonder today, it wasn't always so.

St Helens Star
Don't miss tomorrow's Blood Moon — the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century

BSS will host a seminar on lunar eclipse addressed by senior scientist Jayant Murthy of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, to dismiss myths and superstitions.

Wherever you are in Italy the view of the spectacle will all depend on the weather tomorrow night, so we've had a look at the forecast.

A "blood moon" will be able to be seen in WA skies from about 3.30am on Saturday.

This week marks the beginning of Mars' stint in opposition - meaning it will be on the opposite side of Earth from the sun.

Pramod G. Galgali, Director, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, said, "Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses can be witnessed without any special equipment".

Mars will appear brighter in the sky than the moon, separated by just five degrees - about the width of three fingers held at arm's length. Mars is also safe to view with the naked eye.

So where can you see the total lunar eclipse?

Apart from it being century's longest lunar eclipse, Mars will be very close to the moon on the same night.

Nasa astronomers are using the opportunity to take detailed observations of Mars and its global storms and are expected to release new images on Friday. Also, since it will be a full moon night, Guru Purnima is being observed in India on the auspicious day.

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