Tuesday’s (8 November) eclipse will be the only opportunity to witness a total lunar eclipse in the region for the next three years, with the next visible eclipse not occurring until 2025.
The rare blood moon lunar eclipse’s period of totality, the period during which the moon is completely in shadow, will last for roughly 85 minutes, giving observers plenty of time to witness the lunar spectacle.
Beginning at 8:09pm (AEDT), the lunar eclipse will be easily visible to the naked eye, making it a wonderful viewing experience for amateur observers.
Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is also completely safe to look at with the naked eye for its entire duration.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. The reason for the moon’s red glow during a total eclipse is that the light reaching the moon during this period is refracted onto the moon by the Earth’s atmosphere.
The upcoming eclipse will take place shortly after moonrise, meaning that the moon will be fairly low in the night sky. Due to the early time the eclipse is taking place, the full view of the moon will be somewhat obscured by the twilight glow from the horizon.
The full lunar eclipse will not be the only sight worth looking out for in the sky on Tuesday evening (8 November), with Uranus being just a day away from reaching opposition on the night of the eclipse.
While Uranus is not visible to the naked eye like other brighter planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus, it will be visible with only a pair of binoculars. Being “at opposition” means that the planet is in the opposite part of the sky to our sun, meaning it is at its brightest for observation.
To mark the lunar eclipse, Sydney Observatory is running one of its new “Late Programs” on the night of the eclipse. The observatory is offering a night of star and moongazing with talks from astronomers and astrophysicists and even a musical performance.
The program marks the reopening of the observatory to the public after several years of pandemic-related closures and heritage works.
Liam McAneny is a journalist who has written and edited for his University International Relations journal. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Wollongong in 2021. He joined Momentum Media in 2022 and currently writes for SpaceConnect and Australian Aviation. Liam has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations as well as astronomy.
Send Liam an email at: [email protected]
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