The longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century slated for Friday

A rare celestial show will occur friday July 27th.

Star gazers will have opertunity to see the moon turn red and darken as it passes through the shadow of Earth blocking. Once the that passes, the moon will stay dark longer than it will during any other eclipse that will happen in the 21st century.

“It is a conjunction of rare and interesting phenomena,” says Pascal Descamps, astronomer at the Institute of celestial mechanics and calculation of ephemeris (IMCCE) at the Observatory of Paris-PSL.

“The moon should turn red, a little coppery and Mars, nicknamed the “red planet,” will be next, very bright, with a slightly orange hue,” he adds.

The show can be discovered with the naked eye, without any danger. Binoculars, glasses and telescopes will allow you to enjoy even more.

The eclipse will be visible, partially or totally, in only half of the world. It can be observed from Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia.

But it is East Africa, the Middle East and India that will be the best to enjoy the show.

The eclipse will not be visible from Quebec, but it will be possible to follow its progress thanks to cameras and various live broadcasts on social media and news sites.

How an eclipse works

For a lunar eclipse to occur, there must be an almost perfect alignment of the Sun, the Earth and the Moon.

Our planet, lying between our star and the Moon, then projects its shadow on its natural satellite.

Friday, the Moon, which will be full, will gradually return in the dark, then in the shadows to be totally in the shade, before emerging gradually.

The complete phenomenon (including the penumbra phase, imperceptible to the naked eye will begin at 13:14 Montreal time and will end at 19:28.

The show will begin really at 2:24 pm Quebec, the Moon giving the impression of being nibbled by the shadows.




The most captivating moment of the eclipse, when the Moon is completely in the shadow cone projected by the Earth, will begin at 15:30 Quebec time and end at 17:13 Québec time.

This phase of “totality” will last 1 hour 43 minutes (103 minutes), making it the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century.

Second eclipse of the 21st century

“It is a replica of the eclipse of July 16, 2000, which lasted 1 hour 46 minutes, becoming the longest lunar eclipse of the twentieth century (which ended on December 31, 2000), says Pascal Descamps.

This will be the second total lunar eclipse of 2018, the first having taken place on January 31 (it was not visible in France). It was a “super moon” because our satellite had a particularly large apparent size.

Monday’s will be a “mini-moon”: our companion will be virtually farthest from Earth and its apparent size will be smaller. It will therefore take longer to cross the shadow cone.

Deprived of the rays of the Sun, the Moon will darken and take on a red hue. This color is explained by the fact that the earth’s atmosphere deflects the red rays of sunlight into the shadow cone. The moon can then reflect them.

Depending on the conditions of the atmosphere, including pollution, the Moon may be a very dark red gray. Or take a red hue more intense if the atmosphere is dust-free.

The other heroine of the night will be Mars, which will be only 57.6 million kilometers from Earth (the minimum distance will be reached on July 31).

It’s been 15 years since its apparent diameter has not been so big. And it will be necessary to wait until 2035 to see the red planet again so closely.

To the naked eye, we will see only a bright spot but with a telescope or a telescope, it will be possible to observe in details.




John Gilmore was a reporter for Techno Secrets, before becoming the lead editor. He has over fifty bylines and has reported on countless incidents around Anchorage. John studies chemistry and history at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he currently is in his senior year.

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