On Friday, July 27, the full moon will pass through the shadow of the earth. For 103 minutes, the usually silvery moon becomes blood red and ocher. It will be the longest lunar eclipse of the century, lasting 26 minutes longer than the last total lunar eclipse in January.
Here's the good news: The vast majority of people on planet Earth will be able to see this lunar eclipse.
Here are the less good news: Those of us in North America (apart from a piece of Newfoundland, Canada) will not see it at all.
Sadly, when the night falls in North America and the full moon rises here, the eclipse will be over. The Moon will have completed its crossing of the Earth Shadow or Umbra. We will have to wait until January 21
For readers in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America, you just have to go outside and look for the moon at 17:14 (CET). Then the partial phase of darkness begins. The full solar eclipse starts at 19:30 UTC and then lasts one full hour and 43 minutes! (See exactly when the eclipse will take place where you live on TimeandDate.com.)
Enjoy! And tell us how it went! Tweet Pictures of @voxdotcom . We will not be totally jealous or something.
If I can not see it, can I at least stream it live?
It's 2018. You do not have to do much without leaving your couch – including Eclipse Viewing.
The astronomy education website Slooh will be the Solar Eclipse from July 27 at 1pm Eastern Live Streaming. Watch it here.
The eclipse will still be very cool, even on YouTube. Here is a timelapse review of the last complete lunar eclipse in January. You can see the earth slowly throwing an orange shadow at the moon.
Find more outdoor ways to watch the sky this summer in our guide. July 27th is also the best day to see the planet Mars as it is in direct harmony with the earth and the sun.
Why do we have lunar eclipses?
The simple answer is, "Because the moon sometimes passes through the shadow of the earth." But there is more.
First, it must be full moon. When the moon is full, it means that the sun, the earth, and the moon are in line:
Now you may think, "Why do not we have lunar eclipses on every full moon?" 19659018] The moon's orbit is not perfectly in line with Earth's orbit. It's tilted 5 degrees:
No one knows exactly why – but it might have something to do with how the moon probably originated: a massive object that penetrates the Earth.
This means that during most full moons the shadow misses the moon, as you can see in the picture above.
There are two points in the orbit of the moon where the shadow can fall to the earth. These are called knots.
For a total solar eclipse to take place, the moon must be at or near one of the nodes.
When the sun, earth and moon are aligned on a knot, voila! The moon falls into the path of the shadow of the earth.
There are usually two or three lunar eclipses in a given year, and anyone lucky enough to be on the night side of the earth during a lunar eclipse will have a chance to witness it.
You do not need special equipment or goggles to see it (unlike the total eclipse). But binoculars will give you a better, more detailed look into the geography of the moon as it darkens in the shadows.
Why does the moon turn red during a lunar eclipse?
During a total eclipse of the sun – like the one that North America saw last summer – the entire brighter than the bright slice of the sun turns black and shows the sun's atmosphere.
What happens during a total lunar eclipse is a bit less dramatic, but still beautiful.
As sunlight penetrates the atmosphere, the gases in it capture and scatter the blue light in the spectrum. (That's why the sky turns blue.) The red, orange and yellow wavelengths go into the shadows of the earth and are projected onto the moon.
Basically, as Voss Joss Fong has explained, a total lunar eclipse is like the projection of all sunsets and sunrises onto the moon.