Longest lunar eclipse of century to arrive this month

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Amateur star gazers and astronomers will get to experience the longest total lunar eclipse of the century around midnight on July 27 and in the wee hours of July 28.

Coincidentally, this will also be the night of a Total Lunar Eclipse, which will be the longest total lunar eclipse for the next century.

On July 31, Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, will be 57.6 million kilometres from Earth, the closest it has been since 2003 when it came within 55.7 million kilometres, which was the nearest in almost 60,000 years.

In the United Kingdom, the initial phase of the lunar eclipse will have already begun by the time the moon peaks over the horizon.

The last lunar eclipse earlier this year, January 31 to be exact, called the Super Blue Blood Moon eclipse, had lasted one hour and 16 minutes.

According to experts, the moon will pass straight through the earth's shadow on July 27 causing a total lunar eclipse.

What will also contribute to the extraordinarily long event is the moon's position near its apogee, or the farthest point from the Earth in its orbit.

Ms Patel said: "So what we'll see is an apparently smaller moon and because it's further from Earth it will be travelling a bit slower".

Because of this irregular orbit the moon's average distance from Earth lengthens and shortens depending on its potion in the sky.

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A lunar eclipse happens when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned.

Unfortunately for astronomy enthusiasts in the United States, according to an Inquisitr report, the centuries longest and most impressive lunar eclipse can not be viewed from the USA.

Because of the elliptical orbits of the planets, Earth and Mars come close to each other around the time of opposition.

"It will come closer to Earth than it was on 2003 only on 2287 (August 29) when possibly there will be nobody alive present on Earth to witness it", Duari said.

Because of the difference of the orbital speed and the orbital period, every 26 months or so, Earth passes between Mars and the Sun, bringing the two on exactly opposite sides of our planet. This year Mars will be at its opposition on July 27.

Mars will be only 57.6 million kilometres from Earth on this date. In 2003, the distance was 55.7 million km, the closest in nearly 60,000 years. Though the next opposition will be on October 6, 2020, it will be slightly farther away at 61.76 million km.

The next closest approach, though not as close as 2003, will not be until 2035.

Just after sunset one should look close to the east-southeastern horizon to view this bright planet, appearing 1.8 times brighter than the biggest planet of the solar system, Jupiter.

Mars will be closest to Earth since 2003 on July 31.


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