Stargazers, get ready to witness the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st Century. Friday will turn into a day to remember, as the world will witness the longest lunar eclipse to date , which will last for 1 hour and 45 minutes. The entire event, from the moment Earth’s shadow starts to fall upon the moon’s edge to the time when the bright full moon emerges, will take almost 4 hours.
Total lunar eclipses, which occur when the Sun, Earth, and moon are in perfect alignment, with our planet in between the two bodies, are always spectacular. That’s because when Earth’s shadow falls on the moon, instead of going dark, our satellite transforms into what is commonly called a ‘blood moon.’ Though regarded as a bad omen by some, there is a perfectly logical scientific explanation for the spooky color. It is the result of the sun’s rays bending around the edge of our planet and landing onto the moon’s surface. However, since the Earth’s atmosphere scatters shorter wavelength light (colors like green or blue), only the longer wavelengths, or the redder-end of the spectrum, reach the surface of the moon, causing it to appear reddish-brown.
“India is at the centre stage of the lunar eclipse. It is visible all over India in its entirety,” Ajay Talwar, at the Amateur Astronomers Association Delhi, said.
“The Moon is not always in perfect alignment with the Sun and the Earth, so that is why we do not get a lunar eclipse every lunar cycle. You will see the sunrise and sunset of the Earth lighting up the surface of the Moon — over 350,000 km away. If you were on the Moon, you would see a total solar eclipse as the Earth would be blocking the Sun,” CNN quoted Brad Tucker, an astronomer with the Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, as saying.
This rare celestial event will be visible across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and South America. In India, it can be seen after 11:54 pm IST on July 27.