Stargazers all across the world are all set to witness the Blood Moon 2018, the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. The marvellous phenomenon is slated for the night of July 27 and July 28. The blood moon is expected to be visible in India, as well as many parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. An interesting trivia-the July 27 blood moon could occur around the time when Mars will be the closest to the Earth in the last 15 years.
The July 27 blood moon is likely to last beyond 100 minutes and is expected to cast a larger shadow over the Earth than previously recorded moons. This is because on July 27, the Earth will be at its farthest distance from the Sun, and the Moon will also be at its greatest distance from the Earth.This year's blood moon will also see the Moon cast in a crimson red hue for the duration of the eclipse.
However, this is not the only such celestial event of 2018. Earlier this year, people around the world were witness to the Super Blue Blood Moon of January 31, and the supermoon of January 1. Here’s what happened during those events.
Super Blue Blood Moon (January 31)
January 31 saw the Earth witness a combination of celestial phenomena – a blue moon, a supermoon and a blood moon. A ‘blue moon’, occurring every 2.5 years, is the second full moon that is witnessed in a month.
A ‘supermoon’ is the phenomenon where the Moon appears larger than its actual size, that takes place when the Moon reaches the perigee, its closest point to Earth in its orbit. Also, a ‘blood moon’ occurs during a lunar eclipse, when the Earth comes between the Moon and the Sun, and casts its shadow over it. In the process, the Earth’s shadow over the moon blocks most light radiation. Therefore, only red light, having the longest wavelength in the visible spectrum, travels to the Moon, and results in the Moon appearing blood red.
The Super Blue Blood moon was spotted across Asia, North America, Australia, New Zealand, most of central and eastern Europe, and some parts of South America and Africa. Sightings of the event were recorded around many famous landmarks, like Delhi’s India Gate.
Supermoon (January 1)
US space agency NASA had predicted we would see a supermoon on January 1, the second in a series of three supermoons, that would end on January 31. On the night of January 1, stargazers witnessed a larger moon, which appeared up to 14 per cent bigger than its regular size. This was visible mostly in the US and Canada, and only involved a full moon, which was the first of 2018.
Also, on the night of December 3, 2017, the Earth saw the first of three ‘supermoons’, which appeared quite like the January 1 supermoon.