Lunar eclipse: Rare 'blood moon' will be visible in the United Kingdom tonight

Watch The Longest Lunar Eclipse Of The Century In Singapore On July 28

A total lunar eclipse happens when the whole moon enters the Earth's shadow. But it can be hard to tell with the naked eye.

The moon will begin to glide through the earth's shadow from 11.54pm on the intervening night of 27-28 July.

The period of complete eclipse - known as "totality", when the moon appears darkest - will last from 1930 to 2113 GMT.

Friday night's lunar eclipse will be more than 20 minutes longer than the last one, which occurred earlier this year on January 31.

Apart from it being century's longest lunar eclipse, Mars will be very close to the moon on the same night.

On July 27 at around 10pm, the red planet Mars will be directly opposite to the Sun and at the same time being at closest distance from the Earth at about 56 million kilometres.

"Dark red, intense or coppery, it's hard to predict", Pascal Descamps, astronomer at the Paris Observatory told BFM TV.

"We should have a coppery red tint on the moon with Mars the "Red Planet" just next to it, very bright and with a slight orange hue itself".

Stardome Observatory astronomy educator Josh Kirkley said New Zealanders wanting to see the blood moon should get a clear view of the western horizon and keep their eyes peeled from 6.25am until the moon sets at 7.20am.

Watch The Longest Lunar Eclipse Of The Century In Singapore On July 28

"However instead of turning black as you might expect, the atmosphere of the Earth bends the light of the sun onto the moon causing it to turn a deep red colour, hence this event's somewhat ominous moniker". The total lunar eclipse, in which the moon will appear red, also called Blood Moon, will be visible from 1 am to 2:43 am tonight. During the eclipse, the Earth will be moving directly between the Sun and the Moon. This is why it's called Blood Moon. Some light, though, will still reach the moon because it is bent by the earth's atmosphere.

Pick a geographic location and search for all eclipses visible from that spot over several thousand years.

According to Sky and Telescope magazine, Cambridge, Mars will appear bigger and appear twice as bright as Jupiter, which is also prominent in the evening sky.

The best regions for witnessing the spectacle in Europe are in southern Italy, the Balkans and in Eastern Europe, where the entire and partial phases of the eclipse will be visible, and only parts of the penumbral phase will be missed.

The eclipse will be the longest of the 21st Century so far.

Today's event would be followed tomorrow morning by another rare happening - an eclipsed moon that could be visible on one horizon while the Sun rose on the other. Stargazers will enjoy a rare celestial display when, on the same night, Mars will shine brighter than it has in 15 years.

"All eclipses are spectacular", the society's Robert Massey added.

Lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon when the sun fully illuminates the surface.

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