Blood Moon to bring the longest lunar eclipse in a century

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The eclipse, which will create a "blood moon", will last for about one hour and 43 minutes.

The eclipse will begin at 7.30 pm UTC (12 am IST) and end at 9.13 pm UTC (1.43 am IST).

Doomsday preachers have been reportedly suggesting that July's blood moon heralds the end of the world, as biblical passages talk about the moon turning the colour of blood prior to the apocalypse - and we have had several such events recently.

The upcoming blood moon is not only of interest to astronomers and star-gazers, however. Europe and Africa will witness the eclipse during the evening hours.

A blood moon - and the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century - will occur on the night of June 27 and the morning of June 28.

The time of greatest eclipse will be 4:21 p.m. EDT (2021 GMT) on July 27, according to EarthSky.org.

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This NASA chart by eclipse expert Fred Espenak shows details and visibility projections for this "blood moon" eclipse.

"As an ardent skywatcher who derives much pleasure from lovely events like lunar eclipses, it saddens me that there are "prophets of doom" in the world who view these life-enriching events as portents of disaster", Geoffrey Gaherty, a writer for Starry Night Education, told the publication.

The eclipse will last almost 40 minutes longer than the January 31 Super Blue Blood Moon, which was the longest total lunar eclipse of the year until then, express.co.uk reported.

A "blood moon", meanwhile, gets its name from the reddish hue it turns when the moon passes through the earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse. The moon will be partially eclipsed for roughly an hour before and after the main event. "That [the middle] gets a longer-duration eclipse", he said. That means the moon will appear slightly smaller in the sky and will take a little bit longer to go through Earth's shadow, Space.com reported.

Mars close approaches happen about every 26 months, and is the point where Mars and Earth are closest to each other in their orbits around the Sun.

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