On Saturday morning, early risers from Asia, Australia and the Americas will wake up to witness a phenomenal, albeit short-lived, even: a very shy total lunar eclipse that will last no longer than four minutes and 43 seconds.
The moon’s time to shine might be rather short, but its red shade will make for some spectacular images. There’s no magic behind the “blood moon”, as it was dubbed, because science has got it all covered.
Due to the fact that the light shining on the moon passes through Earth’s atmosphere, absorbing almost all the blue light, only the red one reaches the natural satellite’s surface.
We barely had time to “recover” from the amazing total (or partial, depending on your location) solar eclipse that happened a couple of weeks ago. Unlike that exclusive eclipse, the moon is kindly visible for all who have proper weather conditions on Saturday morning.
Billions of people will be witnessing the event; if you don’t want to get out of the house to watch it, there will also be plenty of live broadcasts with their eyes set on the moon’s progress.
Lunar eclipses are usually visible much longer than their solar cousins, due to the fact that the Earth casts a longer and larger shadow that the moon does. That’s why total lunar eclipses can usually be visible more than an hour, in contrast to the few minutes offered by sun’s events.
This time however, the moon, sun and earth are unfortunately not perfectly aligned, so the Saturday’s event will be the shortest of the century. But do not despair – the 5 minutes between 11.58am GMT and 12.03pm GMT, will be showed on a live feed on NASA’s official website, along with an online Q&A.
The British population, however, will have to resort only to watching the eclipse online, since the phenomenon surprises them in the middle of the day, from 10.16am GMT to 1.45pm GMT. If they could watch it in real time, they would witness a partial eclipse, with the earth only partly blocking the sun as seen from the moon.
But they have had their share of celestial events, as only two weeks ago, millions of Brits have been witnesses to the nation’s first total solar eclipse since 1999. They had almost the best “seats in the house”, with up to 98% of the sun blocked out by the moon in northern Scotland; unfortunately, a lot of enthusiast visitors were disappointed by the cloud-blanketed London.
If you miss this lunar eclipse, you’re in luck – September 28 will bring us the second blood-red moon of the year – and you’ll have plenty of time to catch it in its one hour and 20 minutes timeframe.
Image Source: Community Table
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