Longest Lunar Eclipse of the Century

Red Moon Morocco to Witness the Longest Eclipse of the Century Tonight

A total lunar eclipse - the longest of the century - is now starting to become visible for much of the Eastern Hemisphere.

The total eclipse lasted 1 hour, 42 minutes and 57 seconds, though a partial eclipse preceded and follows, meaning the moon will spend a total of almost 4 hours in the Earth's umbral shadow, according to Nasa.

While the eclipse was not visible in North America and those in South America only caught a glimpse of it at moonrise, residents will want to mark their calendars for the next total lunar eclipse, which falls on January 21, 2019. To the naked eye, it looked like a tiny button thrown on a black blanket, but to astronomists using a telescope, the white dot was the moon perfectly aligned with the sun and Earth. Were you fortunate enough to snap some shots of the blood moon too?

Dr Duncan Steel, of Otago's Centre for Space Science Technology, said the colouration of this so-called "blood moon" - a spectacle shrouded in ancient superstition - was due to some sunlight leaking through Earth's atmosphere and reaching the moon.

Astronomers said Friday's lunar eclipse was the longest in this century, lasting for 103 minutes, and that this running time wouldn't be matched until 2123. At what time of day the lunar eclipse appeared depended on where you live.

In a lunar eclipse, the Earth stands between its natural satellite and the Sun.

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Mars added to the wonder on Friday night as it appeared directly below the blood moon at near maximum brightness.

He said the eclipse went for a "long" 104 minutes mainly because it "went through the centre of the shadow, [meaning] it had a longer path that it had to take to get through the shadow" and the moon is at its furthest point from the Earth.

Dr Jacob said: "Anyone on that night-side of the Earth would be able to see the moon go into the eclipse".

Young people watched the eclipse through a telescope beside Lake Magadi in Kenya. In Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, people at an open-air restaurant admired a rare clear view during the rainy season, comparing a live NASA webcast to what they saw above.

Before and after this total eclipse phase, the Moon passes into a transitional phase called penumbra: the total duration of these three phases (penumbra, total, penumbra) varies from place to place.

Viewers received an extra treat, with Mars competing for attention, sparkling brightly.

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