The longest "blood-moon" eclipse of this century will coincide with Mars' next approach in fifteen years to offer sky-gazers an exciting astronomical double bill on Friday, astronomers say.
For about half of the world, the moon will be wholly or partially under the shadow of Earth from 1714 to 2328 GMT – six hours and 14 minutes in total.
The time of the complete solar eclipse – known as the "totality" moon appears darkest – will last from 1930 to 2113 GMT.
"The totality will take 103 minutes, making it the longest eclipse of the 21st century!" said the Royal Astronomical Society in London.
At the same time, Mars will hover near the moon in the night sky, easily visible to the naked eye.
Our neighboring planet will appear unusually large and bright, just 57.7 million kilometers (35.9 million miles) from Earth in its elliptical orbit around the Sun.
"We have a rare and interesting combination of phenomena," said Pascal Descamps, an astronomer at the Paris Observatory to AFP.
should have a coppery red tint on the moon, with Mars, the Red Planet, just next to it, very bright and with a slightly orange hue.
Amateur astronomers in the Southern Hemisphere are best suited to enjoy the spectacle especially in southern Africa, Australia, India and Madagascar, though it will also be partially visible in Europe and South America.
Celestial bodies align
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the earth takes position in a straight line between the moon and the sun, blocking the direct sunlight that normally makes our satellite whitish-yellow.
The moon moves each month in a similar position, but the inclination of its orbit means that it normally passes over or under the shadow of the earth, so we have a full moon without solar eclipse in most months.
However, if the three celestial bodies are lined up perfectly , the earth's atmosphere scatters blue light from the sun while breaking or bending red light on the moon their usually a rosy blush
This name gives the phenomenon "blood moon," although Mark Bailey of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland said the color can vary widely.
It depends, in part, on "how murky or transparent those parts of the earth are the atmosphere that allows sunlight to reach the moon," he told AFP.
"During a very dark eclipse, the moon is almost invisible.
" Less dark eclipses can make the moon appear dark gray or brown … B. rusty, brick-red or, if it is very bright, coppery red or orange.
The long duration of this solar eclipse is partly due to the fact that the Moon makes an almost central passage through the Umbra of Earth – the darkest, most central part of the shadow
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Our constant companion will also be at the furthest point of its orbit from Earth and moving across the sky slower from our perspective, so longer in the dark.
NASA has now claimed o ud social media hoaxers that Mars will be as big as the Moon during the eclipse.
"If that were true, we would be in great trouble given the gravitational forces on Earth, Mars, and our moon!" NASA
Mars more likely to appear as a very bright star, and the spectators will not need protective eye equipment.
"All you have to do is dress warmly and after d go roar! "advises the Royal Astronomical Society. 19659005] "If you want to see a close-up of the moon while it turns red, binoculars are helpful."
"All eclipses are spectacular," Robert Massey added.
"In the middle of a lunar eclipse, it may look like a red planet has settled near Earth – they are both weird and beautiful, and I'm sure they'll pay attention!"
Mars is approaching Earth in 15 years