The longest "lunar eclipse" of this century will coincide with Mars' next approach in 15 years to provide astronomers with an exciting astronomical double bill on Friday.
For about half of the world, the moon will be partially or completely in the shadow of Earth from 1714 to 2328 GMT – a total of six hours and 14 minutes.
The period of full solar eclipse – known as "totality" when the moon appears darkest – will last from 1930 to 2113 GMT
"The total lasts 103 minutes, making it the longest solar 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 & # 39; red planet & # 39; right next to it, very bright and with a slightly orange color. "
Amateur astronomers in the Southern Hemisphere will be best placed to enjoy the spectacle, especially in southern Africa, Australia, India and Madagascar, though it will also be partially visible in Europe and South America.
– Judge celestial bodies –
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the earth is in a straight line between the moon and the sun, hiding the direct sunlight that normally makes our satellite whitish-yellow.
The moon moves every month in a similar position, but the inclination of its orbit means that it normally passes over or under the shadow of the earth. Months we have a full moon without eclipse.
However, when the three celestial bodies are perfectly aligned, the earth's atmosphere scatters blue light from the sun as it breaks or bends red light on the moon, which is usually a ros Blushing causes
This name gives the phenomenon "Bloodmoon," 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 these parts of the Earth's atmosphere allow sunlight to reach the moon," he told AFP.
"During a very dark eclipse, the moon is almost invisible.
" Fewer dark eclipses may make the moon appear dark gray or brown. as rusty, brick red, or, if 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
– & # 39; scary and beautiful & # 39; –
Our constant companion will also be farthest from Earth's orbit, slowing our movement across the sky from our perspective and spending longer in the dark.
Meanwhile, NASA has called social media counterfeiters, claiming 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! "It says on the NASA website.
Mars will appear rather as a very bright star and spectators do not need protective eye equipment.
" All you have to do is dress warmly and go outside! advises the Royal Astronomical Society.
"If you want to see a close-up of the moon while it turns red, binoculars are helpful. "
" All eclipses are spectacular, "added Robert Massey of the Society.
" In the middle of a lunar eclipse, it may look like a red planet is near Earth – they are both weird and beautiful and I will certainly look for it!
A "Blood Moon" in January: On Friday, the longest solar eclipse of this century will be seen in the sky near Mars, which will be closest in 15 years
The parts of the world that have the total lunar eclipse at July 27 can see