"Blood moon" eclipse, Mars pairing up for astronomical spectacle

Kenyans joined the rest of the world last night to observe the historic moment of the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century. When this happens, the moon can turn red, earning it the nickname "blood moon".

The "totality" period, when light from the Moon is totally obscured, will last for one hour, 43 minutes.

People in other parts of the country enjoyed the once-in-a-century celestial event. "The eclipse phase will start at 01:24 a.m. until 05:19 a.m.", said LAPAN head Thomas Djamaluddin on Thursday, July 26.According to Thomas, the total lunar eclipse at full moon is commonly referred to as the micro-moon.

The moon is steeped in mythology and legend, with zodiac influences and the Blood Moon is no different.

Our red moon had some company Friday, when Mars was the closest it's been to Earth in 15 years.

Some of the light from the sun still reaches the moon after it is bent by the earth's atmosphere, he added. Amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere were best-placed to witness the rare sight, especially in southern Africa, Australia, and Madagascar, though it was also visible in Europe, South Asia and South America.

Infographic

After weeks of uninterrupted sunshine and cloudless skies, thunderstorms swept across swathes of the United Kingdom on Friday, veiling what was said to be the longest celestial event in the 21st century.

"The moon turned a lovely crimson red colour in the west and Mars was just above and left of it, looking a yellow-orange colour", he told ABC News.

As without clear skies, the public can miss seeing this glory, Moon.

Hundreds flocked to the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in the tech hub of Bengaluru on a cool Friday night to witness the spectacle in a hazy sky even as the red moon played hide and seek.

As the eclipsed passed over Abu Dhabi, the Moon could be seen behind the minarets of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The long duration of this eclipse is partly due to the fact that the moon will make a near-central passage through Earth's umbra - the darkest, most central part of the shadow. "If you were on the Moon, you would see a total solar eclipse as the Earth would be blocking the Sun".

The planets had come a little over 55.76 million kilometres apart and The last time they were this close was in 57,537 BCE, that was an event quite historic in around 2003. In Somalia, some hurried to mosques for special prayers often observed during lunar eclipses. During the lunar eclipse Muslims ask forgiveness from God and reaffirms His Greatness.

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