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Facts About the July 27/28, 2018 Total Lunar Eclipse

On the night of July 27-28, 2018 the Moon will be totally eclipsed for 1 hour and 43 minutes. Here are some things you should know about this total lunar eclipse.

Different stages of Total Lunar Eclipse over Indianapolis, United States in February 2008.

Different stages of a total lunar eclipse.

Different stages of a total lunar eclipse over Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, in February 2008.

©bigstockphoto.com/alexeys

1. Second Lunar Eclipse of the Year

This will be the second and last lunar eclipse of 2018. The first one, a Super Blue Blood Eclipse, took place on January 31, 2018.

2018 has five eclipses—three partial solar eclipses and two total lunar eclipses.

The July 27/28, 2018 total lunar eclipse is the 17th total lunar eclipse since 2001, the beginning of this century, which will see 85 total lunar eclipses.

2. Longest Eclipse of the Century

The Moon will be completely covered by the Earth's umbra for 103 minutes, making this eclipse the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. The entire eclipse, including the penumbral and partial phases, will take 6 hours and 14 minutes from start to finish.

The next time we will see a similarly long eclipse will be on August 6/7, 2036, which will last for 6 hours and 12 minutes from start to finish. Interestingly, the ßAugust 6/7, 2036 eclipse will not have nearly as long a totality as the June 25/26, 2029 total lunar eclipse, where totality will last for 102 minutes.

3. A Micromoon Eclipse

Illustration indicating the difference between a Supermoon and a Micromoon's distance from Earth.
A Micro Full Moon takes place when the Moon is at its apogee.
A Micro Full Moon takes place when the Moon is at its apogee.
timeanddate.com

At 05:43 UTC on July 27, 2018, the Full Moon will reach its apogee—the point on its orbit farthest from the Earth. Known as a Micro Moon, this Full Moon may look smaller and less bright than a normal Full Moon.

A Micro Full Moon also takes longer to move across the Earth's shadow compared to a Full Moon that is eclipsed closer to the Earth. This is why the duration of this eclipse will be longer than any other lunar eclipse in this century.

According to scientists, the longest possible theoretical duration for totality during a lunar eclipse is 107 minutes. The total lunar eclipse on July 16/17, 2000, came close at 106 minutes and 24 seconds.

4. Earth Also Farthest from the Sun

The long duration of totality is also caused by the fact that the Earth is farthest from the Sun around the time of the eclipse. In fact, it will be at the farthest point on its orbit around the Sun, the Aphelion, just a few weeks before the eclipse, on July 6. Earth's umbra is the longest and widest when the Earth is at or close to the Aphelion. The longer and wider the shadow, the longer it takes the Moon to pass through it.

Because the Earth currently reaches its Aphelion point sometime in July, the longest lunar eclipses tend to take place during the summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

5. Look Out for Mars

Mars, also known as the Red Planet, will share the skies with the Micro Blood Moon eclipse on July 27/28, 2018.

While Mars is visible in the night sky almost all year round, it can get extremely bright every few years. This happens when Mars and the Sun are in opposition, meaning that they are on opposite sides of the Earth. This takes place every 26 months. In 2018, it happens on July 27.

On July 31, 2018, Mars will also make its closest approach to the Earth—it will be about 57 million kilometers or 35.7 million miles away. These two events so close to one another will make Mars brighter and much easier to view in the night sky.

Because of the way Mars and Earth's orbits are aligned around the Sun, the two planets come closer to each other in some years than others. In 2003, Mars came closest to our planet in almost 60,000 years! The next time Mars comes so close will be on August 28, 2287.

2018's opposition of Mars isn't as spectacular as 2003's, but will still be a sight to see. On the night of July 27/28, Mars will be very close to the eclipsed Moon—around 7 degrees away—and will be easy to see with naked eyes, weather permitting, of course.

6. Perseids May Also Light Up the Sky

If you are lucky, you may be able to catch some shooting stars associated with the Perseids, an annual meteor shower, while the Moon is totally eclipsed. The meteor shower is usually active between July 17 and August 24 and will peak on on the night of August 12 and early morning hours of August 13.

7. Early Morning, Evening, and Night Eclipse

The eclipse will be visible from most of Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Africa and South America.

People in eastern parts of South America will be able to see the end of the eclipse just after sunset on July 27, while those in New Zealand will be able to enjoy the start of the eclipse right before sunrise on July 28.

People in Asia and Australia will be able to get a good view of the whole eclipse, weather permitting, in the night of Juky 27 or early hours of July 28, while those in the Middle East will be able to see it around midnight between July 27 and July 28.

Residents of Europe and Africa, on the other hand, will be able to enjoy this spectacular event after sundown on July 27.

8. No Need for Eye Protection

Total eclipses of the Moon are spectacular events and are easy to see with the naked eye. Unlike solar eclipses, which require protective eyewear, a lunar eclipse can be viewed without specialized eye protection. Just step outside, look up, and enjoy!

Illustration image
A partial solar eclipse looks like the Moon has taken a bite of the Sun.
A partial solar eclipse looks like the Moon has taken a bite of the Sun.
©bigstockphoto.com/underworld1

9. Preceeded and Followed by a Partial Solar Eclipse

Solar and lunar eclipses follow each other. The July 27/28, 2018 total lunar eclipse will follow a partial solar eclipse on July 13, 2018. Almost two weeks after, on August 11, 2018, another partial solar eclipse will take place.

10. It Is Part of Lunar Saros Series 129

In astronomy, each lunar eclipse is assigned a Saros cycle. Lasting about 18 years or 223 synodic months, Saros cycles are defined by the recurring positions of the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon over that period of time. For that reason, lunar eclipses separated by a full Saros cycle have similar features, including the time of the year and the distance of the Moon from the Earth. These similar eclipses make up a Saros series.

The July 27/28, 2018 total lunar eclipse is part of the Saros series 129, same as the July 16, 2000, total lunar eclipse—the longest eclipse of the 20th century. The series has 71 eclipses. It began with a penumbral lunar eclipses on June 10, 1351 and will end with another penumbral eclipse on July 24, 2613.

Next eclipse begins in

142Days 15Hrs 23Mins 9Secs

Partial Solar Eclipse

Jan 5, 2019 at 23:34 UTCSee more

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Lunar Eclipses

  1. When Is the Next Lunar Eclipse?
  2. Total Lunar Eclipse
  3. Why Does the Moon Turn Red?
  4. Partial Lunar Eclipse
  5. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
  6. Can I See a Lunar Eclipse?
  7. Blood Moon - Total Lunar Eclipse
  8. Magnitude of Eclipses

Eclipses



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