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Micro moon eclipse and Mars viewing this weekend

26 July 2018
Micro moon eclipse and Mars viewing this weekend

Although the lunar eclipse is expected to last 103 minutes, observers in the United Kingdom and Ireland will not be able to catch the start as the moon will still be below the horizon.

It marks the second blood moon and lunar eclipse of the year and will be the 21st century's longest lunar eclipse so far, lasting nearly two hours.

The red color is a product of Earth's atmosphere, which scatters light from the sun and it is reflected onto the moon.

The super blue blood moon is seen at full lunar eclipse from Quezon City on January 31, 2018.

The most noteworthy thing about this particular eclipse is its extraordinary length - in fact, NASA expects it to be the longest lunar eclipse this century.

Schulze-Makuch and Crawford do not make the claim that life did exist on the Moon, but say if it did, it may have started in a similar way to how it happened on Earth.

In February, researchers theorized that water could be more accessible on the Moon than first thought, which could lead to uses for it such as rocket fuel or potentially sustaining life as a lunar outpost.

During the total eclipse - which begins at 7.30am New Zealand time - the moon was much fainter than it usually appeared, and was coloured between dark brown and blood red.

The astronomy expert told "Although the moon is in the shadow of the Earth, that is no direct sunlight is expected to hit the moon, the sun illuminates the Earth's atmosphere and that causes some of the sunlight to be scattered in the direction of the moon".

"We have a rare and interesting conjunction of phenomena", Pascal Descamps, an astronomer with the Paris Observatory, told AFP. The Mars opposition is when Mars, Earth and the Sun form a straight line during the course of their orbits.

"If you want a close-up view of the moon as it turns red, a pair of binoculars is helpful". A red light will be reflected of the moon's surface, and thus we all see a magnificent red or blood moon.

"In the middle of a lunar eclipse it can look as if a red planet has taken up residence near the Earth - they are both eerie and lovely and I'll certainly be looking out for it!" The Middle East, west and central Asia, as well as major parts of Africa will join India in spotting these celestial phenomena. So the Moon very well could have been seeded with life from Earth during this period. There are many factors for this, one being that the moon will be at the farthest point from Earth in its orbit.

This means that we will be able to gaze at both planet Mars and a total lunar eclipse at the same time. In that one, the best viewing is going to be from North and South America. As the moon scoots through the shadow, light refracted by Earth gives the moon a reddish tint.

The next total lunar eclipse in the United Kingdom will take place on January 19, 2019.