A total lunar eclipse is happening on the night of July 27, and it will last 1 hour and 43 minutes, making it the longest lunar eclipse to take place this century. But if you want to see it in person, you’ll have to leave North America, since no part of the eclipse will be visible in the United States, Canada, or Mexico (unless you’re watching a livestream).
A total lunar eclipse occurs when a full moon enters the Earth’s shadow. While some of the sun’s light can still reach the moon even when the Earth is directly between the two, our planet’s atmosphere filters out the blue light making the moon take on a deep red or rusty brown color, which is why a total lunar eclipse is also known as a “blood moon.” Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses can be observed safely with the naked eye.
Here’s how to see the celestial event in July.
Where Can You See the Lunar Eclipse?
According to this map from NASA (below), the entire eclipse will be visible from most parts of Africa and the entire Middle East will also have great views, if the weather is clear. But that’s not all. India, Pakistan, western China, and most central Asian countries reaching up to parts of southern Russia will also be able to see the eclipse in its entirety.
Everyone in Europe, western Africa, and most of South America will be able to see the lunar eclipse after sunset on July 27. If you’re in Asia or Australia, you’ll get a glimpse of the blood moon just before sunrise on July 28.
Hope you enjoyed the #SuperBlueBloodMoon! The next lunar eclipse will occur on the night of July 27th – 28th, primarily visible in Africa, Europe, and Asia. https://t.co/IBlpA1yivk pic.twitter.com/yZzjWZUFAg — NASA Moon (@NASAMoon) January 31, 2018
If you’re looking for a specific place to stay for the eclipse, &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is located within Namibia’s NamibRand Nature Reserve, which has been designated a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association. The Desert Lodge has a resident astronomer and a state-of-the-art observatory with a Meade LX200R 12-inch telescope. Over in South Africa, the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve has open-air “treehouses” where you can sleep under the stars—or the blood moon.
A photo of me in the observatory at the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge testing the Vixen SG 2.1×42 binoculars. You can read the review on my site. Link in bio. . . #astronomy #Namibia #Sossusvlei #MilkyWay #nofilter #astrophotography #Canon #photography #Africa #telescope #binoculars A post shared by Matthew Hodgson (@alpha_lyrae_uk) on Jun 26, 2017 at 1:20pm PDT
What Time Is the Lunar Eclipse Happening?
While the entire eclipse will last almost four hours from start to finish, the total phase when the moon turns a shade of red that gives it its nickname—the blood moon—will be visible for almost two hours on the night of July 27, 2018.
The eclipse will start to be visible at 6:24 p.m. UTC (aka Coordinated Universal Time) and will be fully eclipsed between 7:30 p.m. and 9:13 p.m. UTC (or 3:30 p.m. to 5:13 p.m. EST). The previous total lunar eclipse, which occurred on January 31, 2018, lasted 1 hour and 16 minutes.
When Is the Next Total Lunar Eclipse?
If you’re unable to travel to see the blood moon in July, the next total lunar eclipse is happening on January 21, 2019, and will be visible from North and South America, Africa, and Europe.
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Lyndsey Matthews Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.