The Moon will be plunged into a deep red hue tonight.
People around the world will experience the longest and darkest total lunar eclipse of the century tonight as the Moon delves deep inside the darker shadow of the Earth. Normally, a total lunar eclipse happens when the moon, Earth and sun line up, and the moon becomes engulfed in the Earth’s shadow. But tonight, when the moon moves into the deepest part of that shadow, it is expected to turn a gray or brick red color, then yellow. Here’s a visual of what’s going to happen. And here are photos of last year’s total lunar eclipse.
“The Moon will pass deep into Earth’s shadow during totality, actually passing over the center of the shadow at mid-eclipse,” said atmospheric scientist Richard Keen of the University of Colorado. “As such, it should be a fairly dark eclipse.”
Last week’s eruption of a volcano in Chile may cause some extra darkening in the southern part of the moon.
But alas, if you’re living in North America, you won’t witness the 5.5-hour event in person; lunar events can only be seen from half the globe at once. The entire event can only be seen from the eastern half of Africa, Central Asia, western Australia, and the Middle East, while the later stages can be seen later in Europe. People living in eastern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina will also be able to witness the event.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t watch it. Here’s a list of scheduled eclipse Webcasts originating in other countries, so you can watch to join the rest of the world in witnessing this cosmic event. This is just a handful of sites you can log on to to watch it live:
- AstroNation from Germany
- Astro-Viten from Norway
- Baraket Observatory from Israel
- ServiAstro from Spain
- Sky Watchers Association of North Bengal (SWAN) in India (Starting at 3:12 p.m. EST)
In ancient days, eclipses were terrifying events. Some thought a dragon of the sky was eating the moon, while others thought they were signs of celestial wrath that meant famine or disease were forthcoming. Even as recently as the 19th century, the Chinese navy fired cannons to scare off the dragon they imagined was eating the moon. Today, some Japanese cover wells so they’re not poisoned by what they believe to be the disease of the moon during these events. In other parts of the world, people yell at the moon during an eclipse, or they bang pots or even shoot into the air.
Overall, lunar eclipses are beautiful sights to behold. Watch a video on what will happen below:
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