Did you miss it? Then check out these images and video. On the night of July 27 and into the morning of July 28, lucky observers got to witness a once-in-a-lifetime meeting in the sky: the longest “blood moon” eclipse of the 21st century, flanked by a big, brilliant Mars as it heads toward its closest approach to Earth since 2003. The so-called “blood moon,” when it turns a deep red, was visible at different times in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America on Saturday when the Sun, Earth and Moon lined up perfectly, casting Earth’s shadow on the Moon.
If you missed it you can now watch this video of the whole thing.
Another unique factor about the total lunar eclipse is that the Earth is close to the farthest it will be from the Sun, called the Aphelion. The table below from timeanddate.com shows the aphelion occurred on July 6th, 2018.
Year Perihelion Distance Aphelion Distance
2018 January 3, 2018 12:34 am 91,401,983 mi July 6, 2018 12:46 pm 94,507,803 mi
2019 January 3, 2019 12:19 am 91,403,554 mi July 4, 2019 6:10 pm 94,513,221 mi
2020 January 5, 2020 2:47 am 91,398,199 mi July 4, 2020 7:34 am 94,507,635 mi
2021 January 2, 2021 8:50 am 91,399,454 mi July 5, 2021 6:27 pm 94,510,886 mi
2022 January 4, 2022 1:52 am 91,406,842 mi July 4, 2022 3:10 am 94,509,598 mi
* All aphelion/perihelion times are in local New York time.
The total eclipse lasted one hour, 42 minutes and 57 seconds, though a partial eclipse preceded and followed it, meaning the Moon spent a total of three hours and 54 minutes in the Earth’s umbral shadow, according to NASA.
Astrophysicist at the Australian National University Brad Tucker said a total lunar eclipse was something even experts got excited about.
“The Moon passes into the Earth’s shadow and that red colour really is the atmosphere of our Earth covering the light to be
“So you’re actually seeing … the sunrise and the sunset of the Earth simultaneously,” he said.
Andrew Fabian, professor of astronomy at the University of Cambridge, explained how the Moon took on the red hue.
“It’s called a blood moon because the light from the Sun goes through the Earth’s atmosphere on its way to the Moon, and the Earth’s atmosphere turns it red in the same way that when the Sun goes down it goes red,” he said.
Mars is currently traveling closer to Earth than it has since 2003, so some observers might have also seen what looked like an orange-red star, but it was in fact the Red Planet.
Robert Massey, deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society, said it was a “very unusual coincidence to have a total lunar eclipse and Mars at opposition on the same night”.
While this lunar eclipse was long, they can be longer — up to one hour and 47 minutes.
The longest eclipse of the 20th century fell on July 16, 2000. It lasted one hour, 46 minutes and 24 seconds.