The century’s longest lunar eclipse is happening tonight and will last until next morning. According to Pakistan’s Meteorological Department, the eclipse will be observed from Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Antarctica.
Why is it called Blood Moon?
It occurs when the moon passes in the shadow of Earth. This is an area known as the umbra, where light from the Sun is blocked by Earth.
When the light deflects divergently in the atmosphere and hits the moon, it makes it appear red. During a total eclipse, the entire moon is in shadow and it appears ‘blood red’.
How long will it last for?
The length of a lunar eclipse relies on a number of factors – but they usually do not last for more than a couple of hours.
The eclipse began on July 27th at 10:15pm, while its partial phase began at 11:24pm and the total eclipse at 12:30am on July 28. The greatest eclipse will be visible at 01:22PST on July 28. Later, its partial phase will begin at 03:19am, and the penumbral eclipse will end at 4:29am.
Blood Moon malevolence
For many ancient civilizations, the “blood moon” came with vicious intention. The ancient Inca people interpreted the deep red coloring as a jaguar attacking and eating the moon. They believed that the jaguar might then turn its attention to Earth, so the people would shout, shake their spears and make their dogs bark and howl, hoping to make sufficient noise to drive the jaguar away.
For many people in India, the blood moon bears ill fortune. Food and water are covered and cleansing rituals are performed. Pregnant women especially should not eat or carry out household work, in order to protect their unborn child.
In ancient Mesopotamia, the blood moon was considered a direct attack on the king. Given their ability to predict an eclipse with reasonable accuracy, they would put in place a proxy king for its duration.