The July 2018 eclipse which will happen on Friday, July 27 — will last about four hours and be visible across wide swaths of the world including Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. The totality, or when the earth’s shadow covers the moon and creates complete darkness, will last one hour and 43 minutes. People in the United States lucked out with last year’s total solar eclipse, partial eclipses simply don’t have the same effect.
The July 27 lunar eclipse is supposed to be the longest in the century. It is only four minutes shorter than the the longest possible lunar eclipse to occur on earth – NASA
While many people will be able to see partial views of the eclipse, areas in eastern Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Europe and Asia will have some of the best views of the moon turning red and when the totality begins to recede, astronomers tell TIME.
Not only are total lunar eclipses beautiful, but they have the added benefit of being safe. Solar eclipses are dangerous to watch without certified, special glasses, but lunar eclipses don’t require special headgear. They’ve been a source of fascination since ancient times, as astronomers interpreted them as fortunetelling symbols. According to the Conversation, Babylonian scholars once thought lunar eclipses were a sign of bad fortune coming to the king. To avoid the consequences, subjects were dressed up as the king and put to death if they didn’t die from the lunar eclipse itself.
WHAT IS A TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE
A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth comes between the moon and the sun, causing the earth’s shadow to cover the moon. According to NASA, the moon often turns reddish during totality because the sunlight bending through the earth’s atmosphere during sunsets and sunrises are then reflected onto the moon. The “blood moon” will be a much different view than 2017 solar eclipse, which darkened the skies for a few minutes as the moon passed in front of the sun.
IS IT SAFE TO LOOK AT THE TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE WITHOUT SPECIAL GLASSES?
It is perfectly safe to look at a lunar eclipse with just the naked eye. Protective eyewear was recommended during the solar eclipse to protect people’s eyes from the bright light of the sun. But during a lunar eclipse, the glow of the moon has a much less intense brightness than the sun.