Blood Moon: Here's How to See the Longest Total Lunar Eclipse of the Century This July
If you're reading this you've probably seen a lunar eclipse before, but as amateur and professional astronomers know, it's not a "seen one, seen 'em all" situation. According to the gazers over at EarthSky, there is a total lunar eclipse coming in July that will be the longest of the 21st century. Rather than the moon disappearing from view, as happens in a solar eclipse, skywatchers can expect to see it turn a rather sinister shade of crimson, which is why many call it a "blood moon." If this sounds familiar, it's because we recently were able to witness an even more rare lunar episode with this past January's Super Blue Blood Moon. This eclipse, however, will last a full 40 minutes longer. As such, it's the kind of once-in-a-lifetime event that you shouldn't miss, so here is everything you need to know.
The total lunar eclipse will occur on July 27-28 and will last for 1 hour and 43 minutes, with 66-minute partial eclipses before and after. Those of you in the Eastern Hemisphere (Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand) will have the best seats as the moon crosses Earth's shadow from west to east. Meanwhile, only parts of South America will get to witness the final stages of the eclipse, and North America, the Arctic, and many of the fish in the Pacific Ocean won't get to see it at all.
According to Earth Sky, for an eclipse to last as long as this one, the moon has to pass through the center of the Earth's shadow where it is the widest. The total eclipse that occurred back in January of 2018 was slightly shorter at 1 hour and 16 minutes because it the moon was just south of the center point. Die hard moon fans of a certain age may remember the total lunar eclipse from 18 years ago (July 16, 2000) which lasted for 1 hour and 46.4 minutes, when the moon was even more centered in the shadow than it will be a month from now, or than it will be again for a while.
The chart above lists the coordinates and times (UT) for optimal viewing, so if you have a few weeks to make it to those zones if you want in on the action.
For some interesting facts and fallacies about space, explore this infographic.