The longest total lunar eclipse of this century is happening this Friday!

Longest eclipse of century to occur

There might once have been life on... the Moon? Yes, say researchers

In a handsome coincidence, on July 27, Mars will also appear large and bright in the sky as it moves towards its closest approach to Earth in 15 years.

This one is extra special - firstly because it will be the longest this century at a whopping one hour and 43 minutes.

Sky watchers in much of the Eastern Hemisphere will be able to view the awe-inspiring astronomical event, however observers in North America will miss out. Even better for us Beijingers is that the eclipse will be totally visible throughout its 103-minute duration (should the smog and freak weather we've had as of late hold off).

The total Lunar eclipse will last from a few minutes before 9:30 PM to 11:13 PM; at 0:19 AM, the whole Moon will be again in the lighter part of the Earth's shadow.

India is at the centre stage of the lunar eclipse.

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The red color is a product of Earth's atmosphere, which scatters light from the sun and it is reflected onto the moon.

In the United Kingdom, the Blood Moon will already appear eclipsed when it peaks over the horizon sometime around 8.50pm BST. "Further, when dust content in the atmosphere is higher or if the particulate matter is higher, then the Sun rays refracts the red part of the light spectrum and the moon will appear Blood red, so the phenomenon is called Blood Moon", Breakthrough Science Society (BSS) member Francis Kulathunkal explains.

When the moon moves into the conical shaped shadow of the earth, it goes from being illuminated by the sun to being dark.

Due to pollution, people in some metro cities in India may not be able to view the eclipse in its full glory, but those in the countryside should get a good view of the phenomenon.

According to the research, the first event was shortly after the moon started to form from a debris disk 4 billion years ago, as it was releasing water vapor and other types of volatile gas in massive quantities.

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It depends partly on "how cloudy or transparent those parts of the Earth's atmosphere are which enable sunlight to reach the moon", Bailey told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The July 27th lunar eclipse will last almost 108 minutes beginning with a partial eclipse at 18:24 UTC.

Mid-eclipse is at 21.21 BST and the "total" phase of the eclipse ends at 22.13.

"This smaller and slower-moving full moon takes more time to cross the Earth's shadow than does a full moon that is closer to Earth and moving faster in orbit".

Friday's blood moon will be complemented by a particularly bright Mars on Friday night. The full Eclipse can be seen in nearly all parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Australia. They area also known as a "blood moon" for the reddish hue the moon takes on during an eclipse.

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