Longest blood moon eclipse temporarily blinds skygazers

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It was an early start for WA stargazers with the blood moon first appearing after the lunar eclipse at 3.30pm and lasting until 5.13am.

Although the lunar eclipse is expected to last 103 minutes, observers in the United Kingdom and Ireland will not be able to catch the start as the moon will still be below the horizon.

The longest "blood moon" eclipse this century is sighted in Kuala Lumpur July 28, 2018. When it does, the moon will turn a burnt orange color, as it did during January's Super Blue Blood Moon.

Viewers will need no protective eye gear to observe the spectacle - unlike when watching solar eclipse.

In a statement by the agency's head of media and corporate communications, Dr. Felix Ale, the eclipse was expected to reach its peak around 9:21pm and wane from then until it ended around 12:30am of Saturday (today).

At least part of the eclipse is visible from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, most of Asia and South America.

The moon was also at the farthest point on its orbit from Earth, making its movement across the sky slower from our perspective, thus spending longer in the dark.

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"All eclipses are spectacular", the Royal Astronomical Society's Robert Massey said.

Meanwhile frustrated crowds of would-be moon admirers gathered on a hill in cloudy north London consoled themselves by breaking into a rendition of Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler´s 1983 hit "Total eclipse of the heart".

This full moon in July is also known as the Full Buck Moon and the Thunder Moon, occurring when a male deer's antlers are in full growth and at a time of frequent thunderstorms, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.

At about 8.30pm the earth began to pass between the setting sun and the moon casting its shadow across the surface.

Where can you see the blood moon in July 2018?

The copper-red eclipsed moon will pair up with the Red Planet in its "opposition", in which the Sun and Mars will lie opposite each other, with Earth standing in between. "Besides, we would not have clear skies at that time", he added.

Additionally, Mars will look unusually large and bright this weekend, as the red planet makes its closest approach to Earth in 15 years. So if bad weather disrupts your opportunity on Friday, there will be more chances. Apps such as The Photographer's Ephemeris and PhotoPills give detailed information on things such as moonrise times and the position of the moon in the sky based on geographical location.

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