Lunar Eclipse July 2018: Skywatchers in India and around most part of the world were thrilled on Friday July 27, 2018 watching a total Lunar Eclipse that is the longest of the 21st century.
The total lunar eclipse lasted for close to one hour and 43 minutes, starting late at night on July 27 and continuing till the early hours of July 28. The Lunar Eclipse started at 11:54 pm (Indian Standard Time) on Friday July 27 and the totality phase began at around 1 am on July 28. During this rare phenomena, the Moon turned bright red.
The Moon then started to gradually come out of Earth's shadow and partial eclipse ended at 3:49 am IST on July 28.
The eclipse was visible in entire India. It was also visible in the region covering Middle East, Australia, Asia, Russia but was not seen in Africa, Europe, east of South America and Antarctica.
"We saw the Moon completely red at around 02:00 am Saturday morning. It was a clear sky, and the bright and slightly red Mars was visible right below the 'Blood Moon'", Skygazers in Malegaon, who offered Special Kusoof Salat, said while talking to ummid.com.
Such long duration of total lunar eclipses had earlier occurred on July 16, 2000 for a total duration of 1 hour 46 minutes and another one on June 15, 2011 for totality duration of 1 hour 40 minutes.
A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth lies in between the sun and the moon. This means the sun's light is blocked by the Earth, and the moon passes into its shadow. The reddish appearance of the lunar surface - the moon's image does not vanish entirely during an eclipse - is due to rays of sunlight passing through Earth's atmosphere as the moon falls into our planet's shadow.
No special filters are required to protect your eyes, which makes watching a lunar eclipse different from watching a solar eclipse, making this spectacle completely safe to view with the naked eye.
In ancient times, this phenomenon was thought to be a bad omen, but now it is understood that it is simply due to the scattering of light by the air in our atmosphere. According to the Islamic principles eclipses, Solar or Lunar, are signs of Allah - the Almighty. They do not have any adverse effect or negative impact on health or pregnancy.
Friday's Lunar Eclipse was coupled with a rare cosmic alignment, when Mars at close to its maximum brightness added to the spectacle by appearing directly below the Blood Moon.
According to U.S. space agency NASA, Mars is making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years on Tuesday July 31, 2018, which means the Red Planet will be shinier and bigger and easier to observe. The two planets will be just 57.6 million km apart on July 31, while Mars will appear brightest on July 27-30, making it easier to be seen with telescope or the naked eye.
"It's magnificent. It's as bright as an airplane landing light," said astronomer Harry Augensen from Widener University, Pennsylvania. "Not quite as bright as Venus, but still because of the reddish, orange-ish-red color, you really can't miss it in the sky."
Mars will look fainter by mid-August since it travels farther away from Earth in the orbit around the Sun. Mars and Earth were closer than this year in 2003, when the two planets were just 55.7 million km apart, which was the closest in nearly 60,000 years and won't happen again until 2287, NASA said.
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