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Friday's blood moon will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century

Friday's blood moon will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century
Issue Time:2018-07-24

Friday's blood moon will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century

This month's Full Buck blood moon will star in the longest total lunar eclipse of the century.

We are a species that gets unusually excited about superlative celestial events. While the naysayers might kvetch about the hype over things like eclipses and super moons, I say let them. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be reveling in the great outdoors, heads tilted to the heavens, marveling at the wonders of the universe. (Even if the great outdoors means the city sidewalk!)

So, drumroll please: Coming up on Friday, July 27, 2018, the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century! And weather permitting, the Full Buck moon should not disappoint. (See: Full moon names and what they mean.)

Total lunar eclipses are known as blood moons for the reddish glow the natural satellite takes on as the Earth moves between the sun and the moon, casting a shadow on the otherwise illuminated surface. The whole shebang will last nearly four hours. Totality – the time during which the sun's light is completely blocked – will last for one hour and 43 minutes. Which is pretty impressive, given that the longest possible totality length is a mere three minutes longer.

Sadly for us in North America ... well, we are out of luck on this one. But hey, we just had a pretty spectacular total solar eclipse, so we can't complain. TIME lists these times and places for the rest of you all.

Central and Eastern Africa: The entire eclipse will be visible in Central and Eastern Africa, with totality beginning in major cities like Cairo and Nairobi at 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. local time, respectively.

Eastern Europe: The total eclipse will start in Eastern European hubs like Bucharest and Moscow at 10:30 p.m. local time.

The Middle East: Limassol and Dubai will offer some of the best views of the full eclipse beginning at 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m local time.

Central and Southeast Asia: Stargazers in New Delhi should look to the sky at 1 a.m. local time for totality while those in Bangkok can catch the lunar phenomenon at 2:30 a.m.

Western Australia: In Perth, the total eclipse will become visible around 3:30 a.m. local time.

And we won't have to wait too long for another. We'll be treated to a total lunar eclipse on January 19, 2019, that will be visible from from North and South America, Europe, Africa. In the meantime, there's still plenty of wonder to find in the nighttime sky, superlative celestial events or not.

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