French skies mostly clear for Friday's lunar eclipse

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"New Zealand will catch the beginning stages of the eclipse before sunrise on July 28". The penumbral eclipse will begin on July 27 at 10:15pm, while its partial phase will begin at 11:24pm and the total eclipse at 12:30am on July 28. The Moon will take three hours and 55 minutes to cross the Earth's dark shadow during its sojourn.

Because of the moon's position in its orbit around Earth, the eclipse's total phase will last for 103 minutes, which is almost the maximum possible duration.

The lunar eclipse has always been an interesting phenomenon to observe and as today a lunar eclipse will be observed there are some things we must know.

The eclipse will be visible in the regions covering Australia, Asia, Russia - except the northern part, Africa, Europe, east of South America and Antarctica.

And you don't have to worry about having a telescope to get a good view, with astronomers saying that there will be a very good view without the need for special equipment.

"This is a total eclipse at a time in its orbit when it is close to being the farthest from Earth, or at apogee", she said.

The moon will be obscured as the earth will be between the sun and the moon. As an extra gift, Mars will also be at its brightest, accounting for two red lights in the sky. The front edge of the Earth's shadow will begin shading the moon from about 9.30pm.

"The maximum of the eclipse occurs at 21.21 BST, but the upper edge of the Moon won't rise from Belfast until 21:27 BST". The entire United States won't be able to see a full lunar eclipse again until January. Because the Earth passes between the sun and the moon during this cosmic event, the light of the sun has to pass through our planet's atmosphere, casting a shadow on the moon. The sunlight is detoured by the Earth's atmosphere, due to the presence of a blanket of air, hits the darkened Moon. More of these shorter wavelengths reach the moon and are reflected back to earth, giving the appearance of a blood red moon.

'South-eastern observers will be able to see the eclipse for somewhat longer than north-western ones'.

Near to the reddish lunar eclipse, Mars will also be looking fairly spectacular. "The next total lunar eclipse that will last that long will not occur until 2123", he noted.

Why will the eclipse last so long? Unlike a solar eclipse, the lunar event can be viewed without wearing protective eye gear.

If you don't want to tune in for the whole show, I suggest watching just before 3:30. This will be quite noticeable to the naked eyes.

Nasa says Earth will experience 230 lunar eclipses during the 21st Century. But on the bright side, there are still a few days before the big events for that to change. Cooking, eating and drinking are avoided during lunar eclipses in India as people are superstitious about food "going bad" during eclipses. And what about other types of eclipses?

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