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Friday, 27 July 2018 - 21:06
Sri Lankans to witness longest lunar eclipse tonight
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Skywatchers will be treated to the longest "blood moon" eclipse of the 21st Century tonight.
 
As it rises, during this total eclipse, Earth's natural satellite will turn a striking shade of red or ruddy brown.
 
The "totality" period, when light from the Moon is totally obscured, will last for one hour, 43 minutes.
 
At least part of the eclipse is visible from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, most of Asia and South America.
 
The Moon will pass right through the centre of the Earth's shadow, at the shadow's widest point.
 
Because of that, the lunar eclipse will be so long.
 
"This is actually almost as long as a lunar eclipse could be," Prof Tim O'Brien, an astrophysicist at the University of Manchester, explained.
 
It coincides not only with Mars's close approach but with what he described as a "procession of planets" - a line-up of our celestial neighbours that will give skywatchers a particularly good view of Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.
 
Stages of a total lunar eclipse

Penumbral eclipse begins: This starts when the outer (and lighter) part of the Earth's shadow begins moving across the Moon

Partial eclipse begins: This stage takes hold when the darker, inner part of the Earth's shadow (umbra) begins covering the Moon

Total eclipse begins: Also called totality, this occurs when the umbra completely covers the Moon, turning it a reddish brown colour

Maximum eclipse: The mid-point of totality

Total eclipse ends: The umbra starts moving away from the Moon's face after totality

Partial eclipse ends: Earth's umbra completely leaves the surface of the Moon

Penumbral eclipse ends: The outer part of the shadow (penumbra) completely moves away from the Moon
 
Sri Lankans will be able to witness this total lunar eclipse of the red moon from 10.45 pm to 4.58 am tomorrow.


The Moon appears red in a lunar eclipse as sunlight is filtered through Earth's atmosphere (c) SPL


Infographic

Infographic


The planet Mars

(Inputs: BBC)
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