Blood Moon Preparations Underway As The Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse Looms

Petros Giannakouris / AP Images

Preparations for the 21st Century’s longest total lunar eclipse have begun as people make their plans for how to see the Blood Moon 2018, which is coming up quickly.

When the moon passes beneath the Earth’s shadow, it glows almost orange, which is why such an eclipse is often called a Blood Moon.

According to a BBC report, much of the world is in for a treat later this month when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align to create a lunar eclipse. The Earth blocks the sunlight, which produces the darkened moon. On July 27, the heavenly bodies align, and they’ll stay that way for the most extended amount of time in this century, a total of 1 hour and 43 minutes. If the weather cooperates and the skies are clear, sky watchers in some parts of the world should be able to view the event after sunset.

Unfortunately for astronomy enthusiasts in the United States, according to an Inquisitr report, the centuries longest and most impressive lunar eclipse cannot be viewed from the USA. Those in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and even parts of South America should have a view of this once in a century event. Unfortunately for those in the U.S., moonrise won’t occur until after the eclipse is over.

There is a bit of good news though, with the upcoming Blood Moon several weeks away, there’s still time to make some travel arrangements to an area where it will be visible. Failing that, people in the U.S. can simply wait until January 21, 2019, to view this celestial event. Granted next year’s eclipse won’t be as long or as dramatic, but it’s still quite a sight to behold.

According to Your Tango, the total lunar eclipse begins at 6:24 p.m. UTC and the moon fully enters the Earth’s shadow 7:30 p.m. UTC. The moon begins to move out of Earth’s shadow at 9:13 p.m. UTC, and by 10:19 p.m. UTC the moon will be fully visible again. Viewers do not need a telescope to obtain a good view of the event, but a good pair of binoculars should help. However, people who do not have anything to enhance their vision should be able to see the impressive Blood Moon in a few weeks as long as the sky remains clear.

Bruce McClure, an astronomer at EarthSky.org, said, “The longest possible total lunar eclipse is one hour and 47 minutes,” which means the upcoming event is nearly the longest possible.