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A blood-red moon dazzled star gazers across much of the world on Friday when it moved into Earth's shadow for the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century.

The total eclipse will last 1 hour, 42 minutes and 57 seconds, though a partial eclipse precedes and follows, meaning the moon will spend a total of 3 hours and 54 minutes in the earth's umbral shadow, according to NASA.

In what EarthSky describes as a "one of the sky's wonderful coincidences", the eclipse will also take place as Earth passes between the Sun and Mars.

In 2003, Mars and Earth were the closest in almost 60,000 years: 34.6 million miles.

It's possible that 4 billion and 3.5 billion years ago, the moon had liquid water, an atmosphere, and a magnetic field. Next week, the Red Planet is making its closest approach to Earth in 15 years.

Europe, eastern Asia, Australia, Indonesia, and other regions will enjoy a partial lunar eclipse, where the moon passes partly through Earth's shadow.

"This is one of the largest weather events that we've seen on Mars", NASA scientist Michael Smith said in a statement. During Friday's eclipse, the moon will be passing nearly directly through the middle of the shadow, maximising the time that moon spends in darkness. It's a little bit not up to the theoretical limit of the lunar Eclipse (one hour and 47 minutes).

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A little magnification can allow even inexperienced skywatchers to check out surprising details, and this year, you might even be able to see the huge dust storm raging in the planet's atmosphere. An eclipse does not occur on every full moon because the moon's plane is tilted at an angle to that of the earth's.

The Eclipse is expected to reach its peak around 9:21pm and wane from then until the eclipse ends around 12:30am of the 28th of July 2018.

The combination of a supermoon and total lunar eclipse creating a blood moon last occurred in 1982 and will not happen again until 2033. In a famous passage in the Book of Joel in the Hebrew Bible, it warns that "the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awful day of the Lord comes".

Unlike with a solar eclipse, it is safe to look at without special glasses. In London, moonrise is at 20.49, so the moon will already be in the shadow of Earth as darkness falls over the capital.

Only the people in North America Eclipse will not be able to see it.

East Africa, the Middle East and a region of Central Asia stretching as far east as India and as far north as parts of southern Russian Federation should get a spectacular view of the so-called blood moon. The moon will appear blood red as it will be completely eclipsed by the Earth starting 8:14 PM on Friday.

The total lunar eclipse will be fully visible in Delhi. It is always recommended using binoculars or a small low-power telescope, since they both allow the entire Moon to be viewed during the event.


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