Skygazers and scientists alike are anticipating the longest lunar eclipse of the century this weekend.
The whole spectacle will last a lengthy three and a half hours, but we’re unlikely to be able to glimpse the entire eclipse here in the UK.
Here is everything you need to know about it.
What is a lunar eclipse?
An eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the moon and the sun, causing the Earth’s shadow to cover the moon.
During a lunar eclipse, the Earth blocks light from the sun and it turns a reddish colour due to sunlight bending through the Earth’s atmosphere.
Short wavelengths like blue and violet bounce off the Earth, while longer wavelengths like red and orange pass through, leading the moon to glow in those colours.
November’s lunar eclipse is only partial, but 98% of the moon will be covered up, so it is very close.
When is the lunar eclipse?
The eclipse is predicted to begin at 7:19am on the morning of Friday 19 November.
The moment at which the moon’s surface is most covered by our planet’s shadow will occur around 9am, and the whole thing will be over by 10.47am.
How can I see the eclipse?
Depending on where you are located within the UK, you will be able to see more or less of the celestial spectacle.
Those further north will get the best views, though obviously weather conditions will affect how successful you are at spotting the eclipse.
Those living in coastal areas in the north west of the UK have the very best chance at spotting the show, as the unimpeded view across the sea to the horizon will allow you to see the moon for much longer.
“People in the UK will not be able to see every part of the eclipse but will still be able to see the lunar eclipse at totality when the moon turns red,” say astronomers at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
No specialist equipment is necessary to see the eclipse, and the moon will be perfectly visible to the naked eye as it always is. If you do own binoculars or a telescope, making use of those will give you an even clearer view.
Across the world, the eclipse will also be visible in all of North America, as well as large parts of South America, Polynesia, eastern Australia, and northeastern Asia.
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