On Friday, the longest lunar eclipse of the century arrives in Portugal

The moon will be born in full eclipse in Portugal on Friday. For more than an hour, the Moon will be reddish, a phenomenon that is heralded as “the longest lunar eclipse of the century,”

If you live in Portugal, any place is valid to watch the total eclipse of the Moon, to the big cities, where there is a lot of light. On Friday, the moon rises reddish at 8:40 p.m. in the south and at 8:50 p.m. in the north. During a “particularly long” period of more than 100 minutes, it will be possible to see the eclipse of any Portuguese region.

“For us in Portugal, the Moon is already going to be born in the totality phase. We will not see the phase of the Earth’s shadow covering the Moon, it is already reddish, and for more than an hour we will see the whole, “said Ricardo Reis, from the communications group of the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences at JN.

In lunar eclipses, the Moon passes in the shadow of the Earth, with a perfect alignment between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon. Unlike a solar eclipse, during which the Moon covers the light of the Sun in the lunar eclipse, because of the Earth’s atmosphere, the light is diverted differently, a reddish hue appearing.

“There is a similar phenomenon when the sun approaches the horizon. Since sunlight has more air to cross and it starts to turn reddish,” the astronomer said.

“Bloody Moon” or “Red Moon” are terms given to this occurrence. However, Ricardo Reis considered that they can be “deceivers”, because the tonality can vary, from the grayest to the bright red, passing “by everything in the middle”.

Despite being “the longest lunar eclipse of the century,” the astronomer recalled that the eclipse that will happen in June 2029 is only minus one minute. “The eclipses of the Moon are relatively common and happen several times a year, the next will be January 21, 2019. It will be a little shorter than we will see now,” explained Ricardo Reis. An eclipse with a longer duration will only occur in the next century.

As if that were not enough, on this day when there is a perfect alignment between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon, there will also be a perfect alignment between the Sun, the Earth and the planet Mars. “This happens at a date very close to the closest point of the two planets as of July 31. For this reason, Mars is extremely bright in the sky,” said Ricardo Reis. On Friday, the “Red Planet” is born about 40 minutes after the Moon, positioning itself very close to the star in the sky.

The Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences is organizing a session of observation of the Moon and Mars at Quinta do Covelo, in Oporto, on Friday at 10 pm. Admission is free.

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