July has been an astrological phenomenon as the planets line up in sensational brilliance, visible to the naked eye for avid skygazers. And pièce de résistance is the longest blood moon eclipse of the century due to happen at the end of the month.
Mars is the ultimate showstopper throughout July, and the red planet is easily distinguishable by its radiant, orange hue. It takes Mars two Earth years to orbit the Sun, and as such, it is currently approaching our planet at an average speed of 210,000 miles / day.
That does not, however, mean that the vivacity of Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn could be completely outdone. Depending on where in the world a person might be, he or she could be in for the penultimate celestial show – especially if fortunate to see all of the planets in the sky at the same time. Those armed with telescopes would have been able to get an even closer glimpse of this resplendent cosmic spectacle.
Yet, it is the longest blood moon eclipse of this generation that is the grand finale, which takes place on July 27, and will last for 1 hour and 43 minutes.
As per its aptly coined nickname, viewers will marvel at the moon as it takes on this reddish shade. As the moon aligns perfectly with the sun, the earth falls between them both, but instead of the moon completely vanishing as expected, it will adopt a deep red or crimson glow. This is resultant of a trick of light, known as Rayleigh Scattering, which causes this optical illusion.
Rayleigh Scattering occurs when sunlight becomes bent and scattered in the Earth’s atmosphere. This displaced light filters out certain colours such as blue, which then leaves the least affected colours such as red and orange to be projected onto the moon.
According to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre: “As the moon passes into the central part of the shadow, called the umbra, it darkens dramatically.
“Once it’s entirely within the umbra, the moon appears a dim red due to sunlight scattered through the Earth’s atmosphere.
“In fact, if you watch the eclipse from the surface of the moon, you’d see the sun set behind the entire Earth, bathing you in a warm red glow.”
This spectacle of the longest blood moon eclipse will be mainly visible in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The vibrancy of the colour will also be dependant on parameters such as atmospheric conditions and the quantities of dust in the air at the time.
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