Friday’s Blood Moon: The Longest Lunar Eclipse of the Century

July 26, 2018 Last Updated: July 26, 2018

The moon will transform into a blood red hue this Friday night, July 27, during the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century.

People around the world, except in North America, will be able to catch at least some of the celestial sight. On the same day, Mars will appear at its brightest directly below the moon.

The moon will be eclipsed by the earth for one hour and 43 minutes, lasting 26 minutes longer than the last total lunar eclipse in January.

This composite image created on January 31, 2018 shows the moon during a lunar eclipse referred to as the “super blue blood moon” in Tokyo. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

For those who can’t see it first-hand, the eclipse will be live-streamed online on channels such as Time and Date and the Virtual Telescope Project.

What is a Blood Moon?

Traditionally, astronomers don’t use the term, but ‘blood moon’ has come to refer to the deep red hue of the moon during a total eclipse.

When light from the sun passes through the earth’s atmosphere to the moon, the earth’s atmosphere turns the moon red, in the same way the sun turns the sky red during a sunset, according to Andrew Fabian, professor of astronomy at the University of Cambridge.

When the moon moves into the conical shaped shadow of the earth, it goes from being illuminated by the sun to being dark. Some light, though, will still reach the moon because it is bent by the earth’s atmosphere.

“If you were standing on the moon in this eclipse, you would see the sun and then the earth would come in the way and blot out the sun,” said Fabian. “The rim of the earth would be glowing because light is being scattered by the earth’s atmosphere.”

A blood red moon lights up the sky during a total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)
A Super Blue Blood Moon rises behind the Camlica Mosque on Jan. 31, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

When can you see it?

The blood moon will be visible in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America, as long as the skies are clear. A partial eclipse will proceed and follow the total eclipse.

-In the UK, the total eclipse will take place between 9:20 p.m. and 10:13 p.m. on Friday night
-In Africa, the moon will be red between 10:30 p.m. and 12:13 a.m.
-In India, the moon will be red from 1 a.m. on Saturday morning until 2:43 a.m.
-In Beijing, China, it will occur from 3:30 a.m. until 5:13 a.m.
-In Australia, the total eclipse will occuer between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning

A useful tool to find out local times of the eclipse in your region is the interactive map by TimeandDate.com.

For those missing out on this celestial event, the next total lunar eclipse will be on Jan. 19, 2019. This one will be visible across the United States.

Reuters contributed to this report.