Blood moon over Dunedin

The moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse, as seen from Dresden, Germany, Friday, July 27, 2018.

The moon will appear red in the night sky Friday night as it moves into Earth's shadow, perfectly aligned with Earth and the sun. The total lunar eclipse that delighted stargazers last night was the longest of its kind for the 21st Century.

But those in North America and other parts of the Western Hemisphere are out of luck, as the eclipse will be happening during daytime hours. The sky was clear enough to give them flawless views of a lovely sunrise, but cloud on the opposite horizon blocked views of the moon.

Yes, it's a total lunar eclipse, so the moon will be entirely in the Earth's shadow.

People gather to watch a "blood moon" eclipse in Melbourne on July 28, 2018.

After weeks of uninterrupted sunshine and cloudless skies, thunderstorms swept across swathes of the United Kingdom on Friday, veiling what was said to be the longest celestial event in the 21st century.

Also, those in the United Kingdom will miss a section of the eclipse due to the moon being below our horizon when it starts, which gives south-eastern observers a slightly better advantage than the north-western ones. "You will see the sunrise and sunset of the Earth lighting up the surface of the Moon - over 350,000 km away. If there are extra particles in the atmosphere, from say a recent volcanic eruption, the moon will appear a darker shade of red". The lunar eclipse photographed here was very unusual, because it coincided with the moon's perigee, or closest approach to Earth.

Dr Duncan Steel, of Otago's Centre for Space Science Technology, said the colouration of this so-called "blood moon" - a spectacle shrouded in ancient superstition - was due to some sunlight leaking through Earth's atmosphere and reaching the moon.

The eclipse will have been visible from Southern Africa to the Middle East, Russia, India, and Australia.

"This is actually nearly as long as a lunar eclipse could be", Prof Tim O'Brien, an astrophysicist at University of Manchester, explained. This year's eclipse is when the Earth will be close to Mars.

The moon being eclipsed by the earth's shadow just before it disappeared behind clouds.

Not all the lunar eclipses will lead to a "bloody" show. The lunar eclipse in India will start at around 10:44 pm on Friday and stay till around 2:43 am. The blood moon prophecy predicts the world as we know it will end after a series of four lunar eclipses, which is known as a "tetrad".

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