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Moon gazers in for a treat on Friday

Ljubljana, 25 July - Friday is set to see the longest total Lunar eclipse of the 21st century. What will make it especially interesting is the Moon's exceptional glow and the placement of other celestials bodies. Weather permitting, it should be visible in Slovenia.

New York, US
Lunar eclipse.
Photo: Xinhua/STA

Igor Žiberna from the geography department of the Maribor Faculty of Arts has explained for the STA that the Moon will start entering the lighter part of the Earth's shadow (called penumbra) at around 7 PM CET and begin to enter the Earth's shadow at around 8:30 PM.

The total Lunar eclipse will last from a few minutes before 9:30 PM to 11:13 PM; at 0:19 AM, the whole Moon will be again in the lighter part of the Earth's shadow.

"The best vantage points to see the eclipse will be the Indian Ocean, Central Asia and most parts of East and South Africa. We are situated at the far west of the visible area, meaning the Moon will already be partly in the Earth's shadow when we see it," Žiberna said.

The eclipse will last for one hour, 43 minutes and 34 seconds, which will make it the longest this century; including the penumbral time, it will last for three hours and 55 minutes.

The total eclipse typically brings a brick-brown, copper brown or reddish glow to the Moon. "The darkness of the Lunar eclipse depends on the number of dust particles in the Earth's troposphere," said Žiberna.

"When the Moon is entering the Earth's shadow, another interesting phenomenon appears. A narrow strip of the Moon turns ash-blue colour," he added.

Planets Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will also be visible in the evening.

"Interestingly, Mars will be located on the opposite side of the Sun, so we will be able to observe it the whole Friday night. Being quite close to the Earth, it will appear relatively large. The last such case was in August 2003," the expert said.

However, the visibility will depend on weather conditions. Nevertheless, astronomer associations around the country will organise public observational events for the occasion.

© STA, 2018