The moon is about to turn a rather lurid blood red by the end of the week, as parts of the world are about to experience what will be the longest lunar eclipse in a hundred years. The rare astronomical event will take place Friday, July 27, and will last a lengthy three hours and 55 minutes.
This unusual lunar eclipse will be seen just before the weekend for skywatchers in Asia, Australia, parts of Europe and South America on Friday. Unfortunately, for those in the U.S. and Canada, the event will be over by the time the moon rises over North America, according to The Guardian.
While lunar eclipses are not that uncommon, at least when compared to solar eclipses, this event still stands out as one of the biggest astronomical events, not just this year but perhaps this century, as well.
Astronomers are not expecting any other lunar eclipses to top this one in terms of length, at least until 2100. This once-in-a-lifetime event will last nearly one and three-quarters of an hour from July 27 to July 28, just a scant four minutes short of what is the longest lunar eclipse theoretically possible in NASA's estimate, according to the Canberra Times.
"You will see the sunrise and sunset of the Earth lighting up the surface of the moon – over 350,000 kilometres away," Australian National University astronomer Dr. Brad Tucker said, explaining how this lunar event will give the moon its eerie orange to red glow this Friday.
"If you were on the moon, you would see a total solar eclipse as the Earth would be blocking the sun," he added, and just as solar eclipse tends to give the sun a reddish hue, this same color will be reflected on the moon as it darkens and turns red in Earth's shadow.
For those in the U.S., moon watchers can tune in to streams and online sources starting 3:30 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 27, just in time for the total lunar eclipse.