Stargazers looking forward to Friday night’s ‘blood moon’

Reuters
Reuters

Stargazers around much of the world are looking forward to a complete lunar eclipse that will be the longest this century.

The so-called “blood moon” Friday, when it turns a deep red, will be visible at different times in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America when the sun, Earth and moon line up perfectly, casting Earth’s shadow on the moon.

The celestial phenomenon is 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  the sun sometimes turns red during sunset.

The total eclipse will last 1 hour and 43 minutes, with the entire event lasting closer to four hours.

Friday’s blood moon isn’t the only reason to be excited tonight. Mars will be at its brightest as it travels close to earth, so observers may be able to see what looks like an orange-red star which is in fact the so called red planet.

Mars is also at its closest approach to Earth this week since 2003.