A total full moon eclipse – the longest of the 21st century – will be visible from SA

by BelandaJuly 23, 2018

A total full moon eclipse which will be viewable from multiple continents including most of Africa, according to NASA, is happening on 27 July.

This lunar eclipse will be primarily visible from the world’s Eastern Hemisphere (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand).

The local times of the eclipse are available at TimeandDate.com (remember to put your place or country in the search box).

The eclipse will take place at or around midnight for Madagascar and the Middle East. Europe and Africa will view it sometime between sunset and midnight on 27 July, whereas most of Asia, Indonesia and Australia will view it in the morning – sometime between midnight and sunrise on 28 July.

Two partial solar eclipses – an eclipse never comes alone

Lunar eclipses occur when the sun, Earth and the moon line up casting the earth’s shadow on the moon. A partial eclipse precedes and follows the lunar eclipse, each time lasting 1 hour and 6 minutes. Two partial solar eclipses will take place, one already took place on 12 July and the next 11 August 2018. From start to finish, the moon takes nearly four hours to cross the earth’s dark umbral shadow. The umbra is the darkest part of Earth’s shadow. From within the umbra, all direct sunlight is blocked by Earth as in the case of a total lunar eclipse.

Picture: NASA

What causes a long-lasting total lunar eclipse?

The eclipse, which will last for one hour and 43 minutes, will be the longest lunar eclipse of the whole 21st century.

This July full moon and July lunar apogee – the moon’s most distant point from Earth in its monthly orbit – both fall on the same date. The July 2018 full moon will therefore be the furthest and smallest full moon of the year. Sometimes called an apogean full moon (or micro-moon or mini-moon), this smaller and slower-moving full moon takes more time to cross the earth’s shadow than a full moon that’s closer to Earth and moving faster in orbit. That’s why a total lunar eclipse of a full moon that is at or near lunar apogee lasts longer.

On 27 July 2018 the centre of the lunar disk will swing a tiny bit north of the shadow’s centre, making the duration of this eclipse a few minutes shorter than the maximum duration possible, which is one hour and 47 minutes.

In spite of this the upcoming total lunar eclipse counts as a whopper because the most distant and smallest full moon of the year passes through the centre of the earth’s shadow, which is at its widest in July.

Depending on atmospheric conditions, this could be an especially dark total eclipse.

Picture: NASA

Best viewing

Going outside at different times throughout the night on 27 July will allow you to catch every stage of the eclipse if the sky is clear.

You will then be able to see the eclipse at key moments – when the earth’s shadow begins to cover the moon, when the moon turns red, and when the shadow begins to recede, all of which will happen over a period of four hours.

You will also be able to see Mars and the Milky Way which will be to the left of the moon. With the light of the moon blocked by earth’s shadow, it’s the perfect time to view stars and celestial bodies not often visible to the naked eye.

 Source: https://albertonrecord.co.za/181781/total-full-moon-eclipse-longest-21st-century-will-visible-sa/

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