Lunar eclipses have fascinated people all over the world since the very beginning of time, and with good reason. There is some truly amazing stuff out there, and it never ceases to amaze!
This month’s sky holds some pretty exciting events that you definitely won’t want to miss.
What Is A Lunar Eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly through the earth’s shadow. Not to be confused with a solar eclipse, which is when the moon casts a shadow onto the earth.
A lunar eclipse is only possible when the Sun, the Earth and the Moon are directly aligned with one another, with the Earth being in the middle. This puts the darkest part of the earth’s shadow directly onto the moon. The darkest part of the Earth’s shadow is called the “umbra”. During a lunar eclipse the moon gives off a red-colored tint, giving it an eerie bloody glow. This is where the term “blood moon” comes in.
The Lunar Eclipse Of A Lifetime
This month of July features the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century. This particular eclipse will last longer than usual because it will be happening at the same time as the moon’s apogee. The moon’s apogee occurs at the point where the moon is farthest away from the earth during its monthly orbit. This will make the moon look smaller, giving it more time to pass through the entirety of the Earth’s dark shadow.
The eclipse will occur July 27th at night and continue into the morning of July 28th. The total eclipse, which is when the moon is completely covered by the Earth’s shadow, should last 1 hour and 43 minutes. The partial eclipse, which occurs both before and after the total eclipse, should last 3 hours and 55 minutes.
Unfortunately, the eclipse is only visible in certain parts of the world, as part of the Earth will be turned away from the moon during this time. The total eclipse will occur in the Eastern Hemisphere, including areas of Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, and South America. The total eclipse will occur from 7:30 p.m. UTC until 9:13 p.m. UTC, with the peak being at 8:22 p.m. UTC.
So if you live in any of these areas or have the means to travel there during this time, put the lunar eclipse on your calendar because you don’t want to miss it!
What’s Up With Mars?
The blood moon isn’t the only exciting thing happening in the skies this month. Mars has been looking especially bright lately, brighter than it has in 15 years. And it’s no coincidence either!
On July 31st Mars will pass by Earth at only 35.8 million miles away. It sounds like a lot, but this will be the closest Mars has been to earth since 2003; so close that it can be seen with the naked eye.
Although it is definitely worth taking a look through a telescope or even binoculars, don’t let that stop you from just taking a good old fashioned look with your own two eyes.
Well, it’s certainly an exciting month for astronomers! So get out your telescopes and keep one eye on the skies so you don’t miss out on these amazing natural phenomena!
By Emilyn Gil