Here's how, where, and when to watch the longest lunar eclipse of the century
July 27 is going to be a treat for people around the world and we are not exaggerating with this one people
July 27 is going to be a treat for people around the world and we are not exaggerating with this one people. If you look up to the sky at a certain point of time in the night (depending on where in the world you are) you will be delighted to see the longest lunar eclipse of the century. Yes, you read that correctly... CENTURY. Oh, this one is also going to be a blood red moon. The citizens of Earth will be able to enjoy this extra special celestial event for a whole 1 hour and 43 minutes, which is theoretically the longest lunar eclipse possible and it will also be the longest eclipse of the 21st century.
The basic thing to remember about the difference between a lunar and a solar eclipse is that during a lunar eclipse, the Earth is in between the Sun and moon and during a solar eclipse, the moon is in between the Sun and Earth. So now that that's all cleared up, it's time to move on to the more interesting bits of information like when, where, and how to watch the event that is coming up this week.
A diagram by NASA maps the path of a lunar eclipse that will occur on July 27, 2018 -- it will be the longest lunar eclipse of the century pic.twitter.com/ot5EwDlDE3— PeterGreco (@pgreco0266) July 2, 2018
Although this particular eclipse doesn't seem like it's that important, especially because there tend to be between one and four lunar eclipses every year, this one is very rare because long eclipses such as this do not happen normally in July. With the eclipse on July 27, two major things will happen: one is that the Sun, Earth, and moon will be aligned perfectly in a straight line. The second important thing is that the Earth will be close to its farthest point from the sun and this is called the Aphelion. The last time this occurred was on July 6, 2018.
This particular lunar eclipse is going to be the longest this century because it will pass through the center of the Earth's shadow, which in turn will increase the time the moon will spend being blocked from the sun. Theoretically, the limit of a lunar eclipse is 1 hour and 47 minutes and we will be lucky to see a total lunar eclipse that will be just a little under 1 hour and 43 minutes on Friday.
You are obviously wondering how you'll be able to watch this event and don't worry, we've got you covered. Dr. Jackie Flaherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, told TIME: "Totality is the moment that the moon is passing through the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow. I think most people can relate to what it’s like to hang back in a shadow. On sunny days many of us head for the shade, maybe a tree or a building or even another person. Believe it or not, giant celestial bodies like the Earth and the moon also cast shadows out in space. The sun is the flashlight and the planets are rigid bodies that can block the beaming sun rays. So during totality, those of us on Earth are watching the moon fall into our shade."
Head on over to the site to geet the deets of the perfect time to view this awesome spectacle.
This particular lunar eclipse is also going to be a blood moon which is a term that everyone uses when the moon is seen in the sky glowing with a deep red color and not because it's covered with blood. The reason for this brilliant hue is that there isn't any direct sunlight hitting the moon during the eclipse, and all of the light which manages to reach the moon and bounces back to the Earth is indirect.
This light scatters as it passes through our atmosphere and this, in a certain way, scatters the longer blue and violet wavelengths more than it does with the red and orange wavelengths. Because there is more of this second type of light that reaches the moon and is bounced back to the Earth, this presents us with a blood red moon.
The amazing part about lunar eclipses, unlike their solar counterparts, is that you do not need protective eyewear to be able to see it. Just go outside, look up at the sky and watch as the moon transforms from its monochromatic self to a visually stunning red before going back to being the moon we all know.