"Blood Moon" or longest total lunar eclipse of the century this Friday

The moon is seen passing through the shadow of the earth as it

Unlike with a solar eclipse, viewers did not need protective eye gear to observe the rare display.

"All you have to do is. go outside!" the Royal Astronomical Society in London advises.

The eclipse will already have started by the time the Moon rises over the United Kingdom and Western Europe. Apps such as The Photographer's Ephemeris and PhotoPills give detailed information on things such as moonrise times and the position of the moon in the sky based on geographical location.

Mars will actually be at its closest approach since 2003 on Monday and Tuesday, when it is 35.78 million miles away.

"It is a conjunction of rare and interesting phenomena", said Pascal Descamps, astronomer at the Institute of Celestial Mechanics and Calculation of eEhemeris (IMCCE) within the Observatory of Paris-PSL.

The eclipse will be visible in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. "However, instead of turning black as you might expect, the atmosphere of the Earth bends the light of the sun on to the moon causing it to turn a deep red colour".

A blood-red moon dazzled star gazers across much of the world on Friday when it moved into Earth's shadow for the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century. The fact that the moon appears so small and takes longer to pass through Earth's shadow is also why the eclipse lasts longer.

Nigeria to experience longest total lunar eclipse Friday – Scientist

The celestial event, where the moon will line up with the Earth and the sun, will be seen across the United Kingdom and other parts of the Eastern hemisphere. "The rim of the earth would be glowing because light is being scattered by the earth's atmosphere". "During a very dark eclipse the moon may be nearly invisible".

Rain clouds and thunderstorms could prevent skygazers from seeing the "blood moon" lunar eclipse as forecasters warn of torrential downpours across eastern parts of Great Britain.

After that, the shadow of the Earth will slowly retreat across the lunar surface until the partial eclipse comes to completion at 11.19pm.

NASA, meanwhile, has called out social media hoaxers claiming that Mars will appear as big as the moon during the eclipse. The Moon causes tides in the ocean due to its gravitational pull.

"The moon is not always in flawless alignment with the sun and the Earth, so that is why we do not get a lunar eclipse every lunar cycle", Brad Tucker, an astronomer with the Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, said in a statement.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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