The longest total lunar eclipse this century will take place on July 28 and will be visible over Southeast Asia. Learn how to get the most out of your viewing experience with DCODE.
What is a Lunar Eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon’s orbit takes it through the Earth’s shadow.
Lunar eclipses can only happen during a full moon, when the moon is illuminated by the sun’s light.
During a total lunar eclipse, the sun’s light is refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere, giving the moon a reddish brown hue.
This ominous colouring has led some people to call total lunar eclipse a ‘blood moon’.
Why this Lunar Eclipse Is Special
While lunar eclipses are not particularly rare, the one happening this month is of special significance as it will be the longest total lunar eclipse to be seen this century.
Some total lunar eclipses last for mere seconds, this one will be a whopping 103 minutes long.
If that is not reason enough to stay up late, perhaps Mars joining in on the act will tempt you.
The red planet will be the brightest it has been in our skies since 2003. The next time it will twinkle with this much enthusiasm is in 2035.
It is a once in a lifetime two-for-one astronomical deal – if you miss it, you miss out.
When Will the Lunar Eclipse Happen?
The lunar eclipse will begin at 1.14 am, Singapore and Manila time, and the whole thing will last 3 hours and 55 minutes.
Two partial eclipses lasting 1 hour and six minutes each will occur before and after the midpoint, or totality.
The main event, the total eclipse itself, will start at 3.30 am. It will reach totality at 4.21 am, and finish at 5.13 am.
How to View the Lunar Eclipse
The best thing about viewing a lunar eclipse is that you do not need any special equipment.
All you really need is a pair of eyes and clear skies. A comfortable chair with some cold refreshments of your choice are optional but not a necessity.
Aside from that, the best views will be seen from rural areas, far from the light pollution of big cities.
If you live in a city never fear, you can still see the lunar eclipse just fine. In fact, a total lunar eclipse juxtaposed with a cityscape can make for a great photograph opportunity.
While no equipment is necessary to view the lunar eclipse, if you happen to have a pair of binoculars or a telescope handy, you can observe the colour changes of the moon more easily and in finer detail.
Binocular or telescope users are recommended to pay special attention to the moon at the start and end of the total lunar eclipse, when you can catch a glimpse of a blue band on the moon.
This blue band is caused by the Earth’s ozone layer filtering the sun’s red rays, turning them blue.
If the weather decides to be uncooperative in your region, do not fret. You can still view the lunar eclipse through the internet on a live stream.
Is it Worth It?
Whether you are in the city or countryside, encounter a clear sky or a cloudy one, you can still catch the longest total lunar eclipse to happen this century.
It will be happening very late for most of us, but maybe a few hours of sleep are worth sacrificing to witness something that will not occur again in our lifetime.