Saturday, July 28, 2018

World Looks To The Skies As Century's Longest Blood Moon Eclipse Begins

World looks to the skies as century's longest 'blood moon' eclipse begins

 The longest “blood moon” eclipse this century began on Friday, coinciding with Mars’ closest approach in 15 years to treat skygazers across the globe to a thrilling celestial spectacle.
Unlike with a solar eclipse, viewers needed no protective eye gear to observe the rare display.
“All you have to do is… go outside!”, the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in London said, adding that binoculars will be useful to observe the phenomenon.

For about half the world, the moon was partly or fully in Earth’s shadow from 1714 to 2328 GMT — six hours and 14 minutes in all.
The period of complete eclipse — known as “totality,” when the moon appears darkest —  lasted from 1930 to 2113 GMT.
At the same time, Mars hovered near the moon in the night sky, easily visible with the naked eye.
Amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere werebe best-placed to enjoy the spectacle, especially those in southern Africa, Australia, India and Madagascar, though it will also be partly visible in Europe and South America.
Beside Lake Magadi, 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, husband and wife team Susan Murabana and Chu Owen set up their high-powered telescope for the local community to watch the event.
The isolated lake is far from urban light pollution, making it the perfect spot for planet-spotting.
Our neighboring planet will appear unusually large and bright, a mere 57.7 million kilometers (35.9 million miles) from Earth on its elliptical orbit around the sun.
“We have a rare and interesting conjunction of phenomena,” Pascal Descamps, an astronomer with the Paris Observatory, told AFP.
“We should have a coppery red tint on the moon with Mars the ‘Red Planet’ just next to it, very bright and with a slight orange hue itself.”
A total lunar eclipse happens when Earth takes position in a straight line between the moon and sun, blotting out the direct sunlight that normally makes our satellite glow whitish-yellow.
The moon travels to a similar position every month, but the tilt of its orbit means it normally passes above or below the Earth’s shadow — so most months we have a full moon without an eclipse.
When the three celestial bodies are perfectly lined up, however, the Earth’s atmosphere scatters blue light from the sun while refracting or bending red light onto the moon, usually giving it a rosy blush.
This is what gives the phenomenon the name “blood moon,” though Mark Bailey of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland said the color can vary greatly.
It depends partly on “how cloudy or transparent those parts of the Earth’s atmosphere are which enable sunlight to reach the moon,” he told AFP.
“During a very dark eclipse the moon may be almost invisible.
“Less dark eclipses may show the moon as dark grey or brown… as rust-coloured, brick-red, or, if very bright, copper-red or orange.”
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.

A rare astronomical event set to take place this week could herald the “end of days,” according to some who have been following the “blood moon” phenomenon, with a number of Evangelical leaders even linking the celestial event to the US embassy move to Jerusalem.
As the moon rises on Friday, the longest lunar eclipse of this century will begin, offering skywatchers the chance to view over four hours of the moon crossing the Earth’s shadow with close to two hours of complete eclipse.
As well as being abnormally long, this eclipse, like most lunar eclipses, will appear a deep red with the sun’s rays entering through the earth’s atmosphere to project a blood-like glow onto the moon.

Some Christians believe the celestial event could mark the start of disaster, based on a passage from the biblical Book of Joel, which reads: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord comes.”

According to popular American evangelical pastor John Hagee, the blood moons are historically linked with a time period “that begins with a tragedy and ends with a triumph” for the Jewish people.

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