Total Lunar Eclipse 27 July 2018
Tomorrow evening, just as the moon rises at 8:50pm, Londoners will be treated to one of the most spectacular visions in the night sky – a total lunar eclipse.
As the moon rises, it will turn a dramatic deep blood red colour which will also colour the London skyline. Unlike with solar eclipses, you do not need to protect your eyes and if you have binoculars you can use them to spot the craters and crevices on the moon’s surface.
20:50pm: The full moon begins to rise from the South East appearing red in colour
21:21pm: The time of maximum eclipse when the moon will appear at it’s deepest red
22:13pm: Total eclipse ends moon starts to lose it’s red colour
Why does the moon turn red?
A total lunar eclipse happens when the sun, Earth and the moon become perfectly aligned. At this point, the moon turns the vivid red colour and becomes a “blood moon”.
This red colour occurs because sunlight is deflected through Earth’s atmosphere. The clearer the atmosphere the more vivid the red. With the heatwave thankfully looking to break tomorrow, we shall have to see how the atmospheric conditions affect the spectacle.
According to NASA, there will be 230 lunar eclipses in the 21st century wit 85 being total lunar eclipses. Friday’s eclipse is the longest of the century, with a duration of 1 hour 43 minutes and 35 seconds. It will be the 17th total lunar eclipse of the century and the next will not be taking place until 21st January 2019.
And if that isn’t enough for you?
Not only are we being treated to a total lunar eclipse tomorrow, but Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are also at their brightest and the International Space Station will be particularly bright when it traverses the sky just after 11pm.
So pack a picnic, grab a rug and head for one of London’s beautiful parks outdoors to enjoy this most majestic of sights.