STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Lunar eclipse: How to watch the extra special blood moon and a brighter Mars

On Friday, skywatchers around the world will be rewarded with the longest total lunar eclipse of the century -- excep...

Posted: Jul 26, 2018 12:48 PM
Updated: Jul 26, 2018 12:48 PM

On Friday, skywatchers around the world will be rewarded with the longest total lunar eclipse of the century -- except those in North America.

The totality of this lunar eclipse will last about an hour and 43 minutes, but a partial eclipse before and after the total phase will each last an hour and six minutes -- which means the moon will spend nearly four hours crossing the Earth's shadow.

The total lunar eclipse occurs Friday for much of the globe

This blood moon will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the century

Mars will be its brightest Friday and closest to Earth on July 30-31

Lunar eclipses can occur only during a full moon, and this one is extra special because it's also the blood moon. The moon will be in perfect alignment with the sun and Earth on Friday, with the moon on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.

Earth will cast two shadows on the moon during the eclipse. The penumbra is the partial outer shadow, and the umbra is the full, dark shadow.

When the full moon moves into Earth's shadow, it will darken, but it won't disappear. Sunlight passing through Earth's atmosphere will light the moon in a dramatic fashion, turning it red.

Depending on the weather conditions in your area, it may be rusty, brick-colored or blood-red.

This happens because blue light undergoes stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color highlighted as sunlight passes through our atmosphere and casts it on the moon.

"The moon is not always in perfect 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. "You will see the sunrise and sunset of the Earth lighting up the surface of the Moon -- over 350,000 km away. If you were on the Moon, you would see a total solar eclipse as the Earth would be blocking the Sun."

This full moon in July is also known as the Full Buck Moon and Thunder Moon, occurring when a male deer's antlers are in full growth and at a time of frequent thunderstorms, according to the Farmer's Almanac. It's also a "mini-moon" because the moon is the farthest from Earth and appears small. The fact that the moon appears so small and takes longer to pass through Earth's shadow is also why the eclipse lasts longer.

Viewing the eclipse

So where can you see the total lunar eclipse?

People in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa and Asia will have the best view, while the final stages of the eclipse after sunset will be visible in parts of South America.

For those in the Middle East and Madagascar, the eclipse will occur about midnight, and people in Europe and Africa will have the best view between sunset and midnight. Asia, Indonesia and Australia will see it between midnight and sunrise Saturday.

The Royal Astronomical Society said that Mars and the moon will appear low in the sky for everyone in the UK, so a location with an unobstructed southeastern horizon will afford the best view.

EarthSky.org has a map showing more exact times.

North America, much of the Pacific Ocean and most of the Arctic won't see a thing -- but live streams and photos from around the world will share the splendor. The entire US won't be able to see a full lunar eclipse again until January.

The Virtual Telescope Project will share a live stream of the lunar eclipse and Mars at its brightest just a few degrees apart above the skyline of Rome.

And unlike solar eclipses, especially the total solar eclipse in August 2017, the lunar eclipse is safe to view with the naked eye or binoculars.

Mars in the sky

Our red moon will have some company Friday. As an extra gift, Mars will also be at its brightest, accounting for two red lights in the sky.

Mars is reaching its opposition, when it's in alignment on the opposite side of the Earth and the sun. This occurs at the same time that Mars will reach one of its closest points to the Earth, about 35.9 million miles away.

Mars will actually be at its closest approach since 2003 on July 30 and 31, at 35.78 million miles away. So if bad weather disrupts your opportunity on Friday, there will be more chances.

Mars' closest approach will be before sunrise on July 31 at 4 a.m. EST and on July 30 at 10 p.m. Hawaiian Time, according to EarthSky.org.

Although it won't look nearly as large as the blood moon, Mars will be its largest in size if you're looking through a telescope and close to its maximum brightness in our sky. Mars is also safe to view with the naked eye.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2506247

Reported Deaths: 55965
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings33129910834
Queens31382710273
Suffolk2383183590
Nassau2136033286
Bronx2067916745
New York1674924632
Westchester1433882338
Erie1054771938
Richmond882931930
Monroe835191180
Orange57192909
Rockland52859779
Onondaga51456755
Dutchess35411497
Albany30510386
Oneida28347582
Broome24121403
Niagara23795397
Saratoga20034197
Ulster17179277
Schenectady16525227
Rensselaer14618167
Putnam1242096
Chautauqua12281172
Oswego11449112
Chemung10740153
St. Lawrence10354124
Steuben9972173
Ontario9244110
Jefferson867574
Cayuga8582107
Sullivan839483
Wayne801884
Cattaraugus7586112
Genesee6904132
Herkimer6671125
Clinton663138
Tompkins646359
Fulton6228102
Madison6092102
Montgomery5865138
Livingston564971
Warren537181
Cortland528479
Tioga501271
Columbia4966111
Chenango463586
Allegany454296
Washington453367
Otsego452654
Greene434286
Wyoming433657
Orleans428087
Franklin417920
Lewis355038
Delaware350747
Seneca271663
Schoharie227221
Essex224531
Yates158827
Schuyler151317
Hamilton4343
Unassigned14424
Out of NY0310
Utica
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Oneonta
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 37°
Herkimer
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Old Forge
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 45°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
NEW Game Day Deals each week
Chapter Aesthetic October Giveaway
Cool To Be Kind 2021
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve