Things To Know About Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse

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Credit: Medium
The upcoming celestial event is one of the most awaited celestial events that will occur on July 27, 2018, which scientists termed as “The Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse“. As per astronomical data released by NASA, the calendar year 2018 will have two lunar eclipses; one was on January 31 (super blue moon) and another will be on July 27 about which we will talk in the later paragraphs. So now one by one, we will talk about the Principal Points To Know About The Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse – In My View.

Why July 27 Lunar Eclipse Is Regarded As The Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse?

As per the astronomical data released by the astronomers all around the globe, the total lunar eclipse of July 27 is regarded as the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century. There can possibly be two reasons behind the longevity of July 27 lunar eclipse.
  1. The moon will pass through the central part of the earth’s shadow, hence this lunar eclipse can also be called as Central Lunar Eclipse. During the central lunar eclipse, the moon will pass through the central part of the earth’s shadow rather than crossing through the sides of the earth’s shadow. This type of lunar eclipse is very rare to be observed.
  2. During the July month total lunar eclipse, the moon will be at the farthest position from the earth. In the world of astronomy, this phenomenon is known as the Lunar Apogee. During lunar apogee, the distance between the earth and the moon will be the longest, hence from the earth, the moon will look a bit smaller in size and also moving slowly towards the earth; following Kepler’s Laws. During lunar apogee, this Blood Moon is also known as  Micro Blood Moon.

So because of the above two reasons mentioned, July 27 lunar eclipse will be the Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse. By the way, according to Nasa, this total lunar eclipse would last for 1 hour and 43 minutes.


What Is Lunar Eclipse?

A lunar eclipse can only occur when the earth comes between the sun and the moon. In simple words, a lunar eclipse can only occur when the earth’s shadow completely or partially blocks the sun’s light falling on the lunar’s surface. A lunar eclipse can be divided into three types — Partial Lunar Eclipse, Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, and Total Lunar Eclipse (July 27 lunar eclipse is total lunar eclipse). A lunar eclipse can only occur at full moon day.

Why July 27 Lunar Eclipse Called The Blood Moon?

As we have discussed in the earlier paragraphs, when the eclipse begins, the moon passes through the earth’s shadow (Umbra). Earth’s umbra starts to cover the lunar surface, finally covers the whole surface of the moon. During a total lunar eclipse,  Earth completely blocks the sunlight from reaching the lunar surface i.e complete darkness.

July 27 Lunar Eclipse Occurrence
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The only light that reaches the lunar’s surface is being refracted by the earth’s atmosphere and hence the lunar surface appears reddish in color (blood moon) due to the Classical Phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering. This is the same phenomenon responsible for the blue color of the sky and the reddish color of sunrise or sunsets.

When, Where & How To See The Century’s Longest Blood Moon?

The visibility of the century’s longest lunar eclipse solely depends on the fact that where on the earth you are residing. According to the ongoing reports, this July month lunar eclipse will be visible in two parts, the first part is the total lunar eclipse which will last for around 1 hour and 43 minutes as I told earlier, followed by the second part i.e partial lunar eclipse which may last for an hour or so. 

The July 27 lunar eclipse will be visible in South Asia, Central Asia, parts of Europe, the Middle East, South America, and  Africa. The eclipse will be seen rising over South America, Western Africa, and Europe, and can be seen setting over Eastern Asia and Australia. Well, there are some places where July 27 eclipse could not be seen because, during the occurrence of an eclipse, the moon will be below the horizon i.e daytime. such places are like North America (USA). 

The Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse will be best visible from the Indian sub-continent. In simple terms, due to geographical location, from India and neighboring reasons, both total and partial lunar eclipse can be observed with the naked eyes. In India, the eclipse will start with a partial lunar eclipse sharp at 11:54 pm IST on July 27, followed by the total lunar eclipse (blood moon) at 1:00 am on July 28, again followed by the partial lunar eclipse which will end around 3:49 am on July 28.

Eclipse visibility, July 27, 2018
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Places like in European countries, skywatchers in London will see the moon rise around 8:51 pm local time. In Europe, when the moon will rise, the moon will be already in the Earth’s umbra (shadow). The maximum eclipse will occur at sharp 9:21 pm local time.

In Cape Town, South Africa, the partial lunar eclipse will start at 7:14 pm local time followed by the total lunar eclipse at sharp 8:24 pm. The maximum eclipse will occur at 10:21 pm.

In Melbourne Australia, the moon will be setting when the eclipse will start. The partial eclipse will start at sharp 4:24 am local time followed by the total lunar eclipse around 5:30 am. The total lunar eclipse will be maximum at around 6:21 am. Stargazers in Australia won’t see the moon coming out of Earth’s Shadow because the that the moon will be below the horizon.

Is it safe to look at the lunar eclipse without special glasses?

Credit: StockUnlimited
Well, in my view yes,  according to the preferred scientists, it is completely safe to look directly at the lunar eclipse. There is no need for any special eye covers or protective eyewear to protect your eyes during July 27 total lunar eclipse because the intensity of the light during the lunar eclipse is much less as compared to the intensity of the light emitted during a Solar Eclipse.
So, viewing the lunar eclipse with naked eyes will be perfect. Yes, if you want to enhance the beauty of the blood moon you can use a binocular.

Special Bonanza For Skygazers

As this July 27 lunar eclipse is the Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse, there is also a special bonanza for night sky watcher. During July 27 eclipse, Planet Mars will be very close enough to the eclipsed moon to be seen through the naked eyes. Lucky will be those skygazers who will be able to view the planet Mars as well as the milky way galaxy, to the left side of the moon; oh yes if the weather permits.
ON that note, I can say that I have tried enough to give an overview of Principal Points To Know About The Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse – In My View within my reach. If there is any suggestion, I am all ears. Feel free to comment.

At last, I will leave you all my readers with a quote by Nicolaus Copernicus regarding Lunar Eclipses, and he quote

The earth together with its surrounding waters must in fact have such a shape as its shadow reveals, for it eclipses the moon with the arc of a perfect circle.

That’s it for this post — share it if you like, like it if you share

 Don’t Believe It As I Said Till You Yourself Believe It First – Gautama Buddha

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my career, and therefore I did my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every aspect of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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