The Longest Lunar Eclipse of the 21st Century is Set to Take Place on July 27, 2018
The longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century is set to take place on July 27, 2018, when the moon will be cast within Earth’s shadow for one hour and 43 minutes. On top of being eclipsed, the moon will also turn red as it reflects the sun’s rays, creating a truly incredible sight.
However, those in North and South America may not be able to witness the event because the eclipse will be most visible in parts of Africa, the Middle East, India, Australia, and some parts of Europe, according to IFL Science.
In the last century, only four total lunar eclipses had a period where the moon is completely eclipsed, which rivalled this coming event. This included a lunar eclipse on June 15, 2011, that lasted 100 minutes, one on July 16, 2000, which lasted 107 minutes, an eclipse in July 1982 that lasted 107 minutes and one in July 1935 that lasted 101 minutes, as reported by Space.com.
Since each event took place in the 20th century, July’s eclipse will be the longest lasting lunar eclipse of the new century so far.
In a calendar year, there is a maximum of four solar eclipses and three lunars said NASA. There are three types of lunar eclipses: total, partial and penumbral. The one happening in July will be a total lunar eclipse.
A total lunar eclipse can only occur when there is a full moon and the sun, Earth and moon are perfectly lined up. When this happens, Earth will pass directly between the sun and the moon, casting a shadow on the moon.
The event builds gradually, with the moon becoming shadowed over the course of several hours. When the eclipse reaches a peak, Earth’s full shadow, known as the umbra, completely falls over the moon. The moon will appear dark and may even have a dim red glow because of the sunlight, while other factors can make the moon appear even redder.
Space.com reported that NASA scientists explained the exact colour that the moon appears depends on the amount of dust and clouds in the atmosphere. If there are extra particles in the atmosphere, from perhaps recent volcanic eruption, the moon will appear a darker shade of red.
This particular lunar eclipse is especially long because the moon will pass through almost the centre of the umbra, which means it will be in the shadow for a longer period of time. When the moon passes only through the side of the umbra, the eclipse is shorter.
Moreover, Earth will also be at its furthest point from the sun during the time of the eclipse. This means that Earth’s shadow will be even larger than usual. The moon will also be at its furthest point from Earth, making it even more able to fit into Earth’s shadow. The mix of these special space events will allow us to view the stunning event that is a total lunar eclipse from Earth.
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