Whatever your plans may be this Friday night (27th July), make the time to witness something spectacular. It may not be ideal to take binoculars along for a night out with your dress and heels but it may make a big difference for what’s to come. If your diary is empty, get this in there: lunar eclipse viewing with wine and a picnic – and get ready to charge your gems to the max! In fact, it’s expected to be the longest lunar eclipse of the century. For this reason, astronomy enthusiasts have had Friday night’s events in their diaries for weeks.
The moon will also be what is known as a ‘micro-moon’ or a ‘mini-moon’ and no, we’re not talking about taking short honeymoon holidays! It’s the opposite of a supermoon and is the smallest full moon of the year. A micro-moon always occurs within a fortnight of the year’s closest moon, which this year was the supermoon on July 13th.
What is a Lunar Eclipse?
This is what happens when the Earth, Sun and Moon are aligned. We will be directly between both planets, blocking the sunlight. As the moon enters the shadow created by Earth, the eclipse will begin. A total eclipse is known as a Blood Moon in some countries, such as Vietnam, due to the bright reddish-orange tinge that envelops its surface. Scientists claim that the colour is created by the moon being lit up by the light which has passed through the Earth’s atmosphere and then bent back towards the moon by what is known as ‘refraction’.
How long will it last?
This depends on where in the world you’re located but it’s expected to last for around 1 hour and 40 minutes after sunset, although it will be more difficult to see if the sky isn’t clear. This is why binoculars are recommended, although it’s expected that a telescope won’t be essential.
Do your research for when the eclipse is expected to begin in your country, as for those in the UK it’s expected that we will miss the start of it due to the Moon still being below the horizon – the line where the Earth’s surface and the sky appear to meet. We should be able to see the eclipse from around 9pm when the Moon rises but research your local area to be sure you won’t miss a second of the phenomenon.
Recharge your mind and your gems
Before leaving your house to take time away from the stresses of life to watch Mother Nature’s show, put all of your gemstones by a window or, if possible, outside to let them soak up the recharging benefits of the full moon. They will appreciate the show as much as you will!
You only need wine – not goggles!
There is no need to wear goggles or filters to watch a blood moon as is essential when viewing a solar eclipse. “It is safe to watch with the naked eye,” explains astronomer Tom Kerss, of the Royal Observatory Greenwich. “You could use a telescope but, to be frank, it will be just as dramatic to watch it without aids as the red moon slowly rises in the sky over Britain and the shadow of the Earth passes from its surface.”
So grab a picnic blanket, your drink of choice, some tasty snacks and a fully charged phone or camera and go and enjoy the show.