Lunar eclipse: Rare 'blood moon' will be visible in the United Kingdom tonight

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When a lunar eclipse (Chandra Grahan) occurs, the Earth comes between the sun and moon, preventing light from falling on the moon. "It's 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 when the sun goes down, it goes red". On a black background.

A "blood moon" happens when Earth's moon is in full eclipse and has no special astronomical significance, rather, the view in the sky is striking as the usually whitish moon becomes red or ruddy-brown.

The moon orbits, or goes around the Earth. During this week's lunar eclipse, however, the moon will pass close to middle of the disk. The dark shadow will now be seen progressing on the lunar disk.

St Helens Star
Don't miss tomorrow's Blood Moon — the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century

The "blood moon" effect is due to the visual effect generated when sunlight filters into the atmosphere and the colours orange and red are projected onto the Moon. Depending on the weather conditions in your area, it may be rusty, brick-colored or blood-red.

The eclipse will turn the light color of the moon to deep red.

"What we're seeing is essentially all the sunrises and sunsets on the Earth, dramatically projected onto the surface of the moon", Australian National University astronomer Brad Tucker told AAP. The penumbral eclipse will begin on July 27 at 10:15pm, while its partial phase will begin at 11:24pm and the total eclipse at 12:30am on July 28.

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This full moon in July is also known as the Full Buck Moon and the Thunder Moon, occurring when a male deer's antlers are in full growth and at a time of frequent thunderstorms, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. So it's anyone's guess just how red this eclipse will be. "About an hour later, the partial phase will begin at 2.24am when the moon begins to be covered by the dark Earth's shadow, the Umbra", he said.

Avoid eating cooked food - The popular belief is that during the eclipse, the food that you consume would not get digested properly - leaving you feeling bloated and lethargic. So it is moving slower in its orbit and taking more time in the shadow.

EarthSky.org has a map showing more exact locations, and TimeandDate.com has timings based on your location.

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North America, much of the Pacific Ocean and most of the Arctic won't see a thing - but live streams and photos from around the world will share the splendor.

Solar eclipses can last for a few minutes, but some are only a few seconds long. After that, one might notice a gradual change in the brightness on the lunar disk.

Unlike a solar eclipse, the lunar event can be viewed without wearing protective eye gear.

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"The Moon is passing very close to the center of Earth's shadow, so it is passing on a chord that nearly equals the full diameter of the shadow", said Steve Edberg, a recently retired astronomer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada-Flintridge. This occurs at the same time that it will reach one of its closest points to the Earth, about 35.9 million miles away.

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