Ciaran McGrath – June 21, 2018
NEXT month’s “blood moon” eclipse will be the biggest the world has witnessed so far this century, with large swathes of Europe in line for a spectacular visual display on the night of July 27.
And if that isn’t enough to whet the appetites of amateur stargazers, Mars will the closest to Earth it has been since 2003.
During a total lunar eclipse, the sunlight which reaches the Moon is refracted by Earth’s atmosphere, which filters out the Sun’s blue light – making the moon look red.
Next month’s eclipse will be especially long because the Moon will pass almost directly through the centre of the Earth’s shadow or umbra.
The Earth will be at its furthest point from the Sun on the day in question, allowing it to cast a bigger shadow.
And the Moon will be at its most distant point in its monthly orbit around the Earth.
Writing on the earthsky.org website, Bruce McClure said next month’s blood moon would last an hour and 43 minutes.He said: “This lunar eclipse is primarily visible from the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.