At the same time, Mars will hover near the moon in the night sky, easily visible with the naked eye.

Skywatchers around much of the world are looking forward to a complete lunar eclipse that will be the longest this century.

The so-called “blood moon” on July 27, when it turns a deep red, will be visible at different times in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America when the sun, Earth and moon line up perfectly, casting Earth’s shadow on the moon.

The total eclipse will last 1 hour, 42 minutes and 57 seconds, though a partial eclipse precedes and follows, meaning the moon will spend a total of 3 hours and 54 minutes in the earth’s umbral shadow, according to NASA.

At the same time, Mars will hover near the moon in the night sky, easily visible with the naked eye. Our neighbouring planet will appear unusually large and bright, a mere 57.7 million km from Earth on its elliptical orbit around the sun.

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The eclipse of the moon will not be visible from North America or most of the Pacific. The next lunar eclipse of such a length is due in 2123.

 

 

The partially-eclipsed blood moon over Guwahati early on July 28, 2018.

The partially-eclipsed blood moon over Guwahati early on July 28, 2018.  
| Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

 

The period of complete eclipse will last 1 hour, 42 minutes and 57 seconds, though a partial eclipse precedes and follows, meaning the moon will spend a total of 3 hours and 54 minutes in the earth’s umbral shadow, according to NASA.

 

The partial phase of the lunar eclipse that began at 11.54 p.m is seen from Hyderabad on July 27, 2018. The celestial spectacle became visible thanks to a break in the cloudy sky.

The partial phase of the lunar eclipse that began at 11.54 p.m is seen from Hyderabad on July 27, 2018. The celestial spectacle became visible thanks to a break in the cloudy sky.  
| Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

 

Astronomers have appealed to Indians to upload selfies with the hashtag #EclipseEating while enjoying food during the eclipse, in a bid to dispel the myths and superstitions surrounding the celestial event.

Existing superstitions and myths among the people in India keeps them from witnessing one of the most beautiful phenomenon of universe.

“Unfortunately among people there are lot of false beliefs or superstitions about eclipses. There are beliefs that we should not go out and see them, we should not eat during eclipse etc,” said Niruj Mohan Ramanujam from National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Pune.

“Eclipse is the time when we realise that the universe is extremely grand where things move constantly. To miss such an event would be a pity,” Mr. Ramanujam, who is also a member of the Public Outreach and Education Committee at Astronomical Society of India, told PTI.

“We are encouraging people to start the campaign, to take a pictures of them with their friends and family of eating and drinking and post it on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #EclipseEating,” Mr. Ramanujam said.

“You are not scared if the mountain hides the Sun from you, so why should you be scared if Moon hides the Sun from you?” he said.

 

 

Earth has started casting its shadow on the moon, as the hours-long lunar eclipse begins late on July 27, 2018, at Jetpur in Gujarat.

Earth has started casting its shadow on the moon, as the hours-long lunar eclipse begins late on July 27, 2018, at Jetpur in Gujarat.
 
| Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth comes in between the Sun and moon, with the three celestial bodies falling in a line and Earth’s shadow covering moon.

As the moon enters the Earth’s darker shadow — umbra — it will bear a reddish appearance and is known commonly as a blood moon, with the lunar eclipse also being called the ‘longest blood moon’.

 

Moon plays hide and seek behind the clouds just before the start of the century’s longest total lunar eclipse, at Jetpur, Gujarat on July 27, 2018.

Moon plays hide and seek behind the clouds just before the start of the century’s longest total lunar eclipse, at Jetpur, Gujarat on July 27, 2018.
 
| Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

 

Such long total lunar eclipses had earlier occurred on July 16, 2000 for totality duration of 1 hour 46 minutes and another one on June 15, 2011 for totality duration of 1 hour 40 minutes.

 

A full “blood moon” rises behind the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi on July 27, 2018.

A full “blood moon” rises behind the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi on July 27, 2018.
 
| Photo Credit: Reuters

 

For thousands of years, man has looked to the heavens for omens of doom, victory and joy.

Astronomers, though, said there was no cause for worry.

“There is no reason to believe that blood moons foretell doom,” said Massey. “This does not herald the apocalypse: seeing a lunar eclipse and Mars in the sky is something people should enjoy rather than worry about medieval superstitions.”

 

 

A blood moon rises over Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 27, 2018.

A blood moon rises over Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 27, 2018.
 
| Photo Credit: AP

 

When the moon moves into the conical shadow of the earth, it goes from being illuminated by the sun to being dark. Some light, though, will still reach it because it is bent by the earth’s atmosphere.

“It’s called a blood moon because the light from the sun goes through the earth’s atmosphere on its way to the moon, and the earth’s atmosphere turns it red in the same way that when the sun goes down it goes red,” Andrew Fabian, professor of astronomy at the University of Cambridge, told Reuters.

 

Dark clouds cover the Moon just before the start of the century’s longest total lunar eclipse in Guwahati on July 27, 2018.

Dark clouds cover the Moon just before the start of the century’s longest total lunar eclipse in Guwahati on July 27, 2018.
 
| Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

 

According to the India Meteorological Department the lunar eclipse may not be visible in the Northeast because of cloudy weather. During this rare phenomena, the Moon will turn bright red and it will be visible in India as well.

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