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The longest lunar eclipse of the century stuns viewers across Australia

28 July 2018

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the sun and the moon, casting a deep shadow over the moon's surface.

"This total lunar eclipse will be primarily visible from the world's Eastern Hemisphere, which are Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand".

The July 27/28 event was hyped as the longest lunar eclipse of the century, lasting a total of one hour and 43 minutes.

"The second cosmic highlight of the night is a total lunar eclipse, known as the Blood Moon, in the early hours of Saturday".

When Mars and Earth are close to each other, Mars appears very bright in our sky.

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Astronomy enthusiasts prepare their telescopes to see the lunar eclipse at Marina South Pier in Singapore July 28, 2018. This is going to be the longest lunar eclipse of the century.

When the moon moves into the conical shadow of the earth, it goes from being illuminated by the sun to being dark.

While this morning's lunar eclipse was long, they can be longer - up to one hour and 47 minutes.

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"Part of South America will be able to watch the final stages of the eclipse just after sunset on July 27".

Lunar eclipses happen when the earth sits directly in between the sun and full moon, blocking the sun's light from hitting the moon and therefore shifting how the night sky appears on Earth.

"The total stage of the eclipse will end at 22.13 BST, and by then the Moon will have risen to an altitude of only four degrees, or just about eight times its own diameter, above the south-east horizon", he added.

In another rare event, Mars will appear directly below the moon in the skyline tonight at near maximum brightness.

The Mahila Seva Samaj School, in association with Aryabhata Planetarium, will be setting up a high-end telescope in the playground to view the spectacular blood moon.

"Since the moon is bright anyway, you'll be able to see it regardless of light pollution, but to see the planets Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars nearly in line with the moon, you'll want a nice dark spot where light from the city or streets does not pollute the sky too much", Knowles said.

Unlike a solar eclipse, the lunar event can be viewed without wearing protective eye gear. The Bible contains references to the moon turning blood and some ultra-Orthodox Jews consider lunar eclipses ominous and a cause for moral contemplation.

When the three celestial bodies are perfectly lined up, however, the Earth's atmosphere scatters blue light from the sun while refracting or bending red light onto the moon, usually giving it a rosy blush.

The longest lunar eclipse of the century stuns viewers across Australia