According to the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA), a total eclipse of the moon will take place this Friday, 27 July
The eclipse will begin at 20:24 and will last three hours, 55 minutes. The ASSA says that this will be the “longest eclipse of the century”.
As the moon goes dark, Mars will be shining at its brightest in the last 15 years just next to the moon. Mars will be one of four planets visible to the naked eye on eclipse night the others include Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn.
“You’ll see that they stretch in a line across the sky, from Venus in the west to Mars and the Moon in the east – you’re looking at our flat solar system from the inside,” says the ASSA.
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Download a simple star chart from the ASSA website:
According to a release by ASSA, “The moon will start changing shape as it enters the shadow of the Earth at 20h24. From 21h30 until 23h13, it will be totally eclipsed, but faintly lit by light refracted by the Earth’s atmosphere, which should give it a pale reddish colour. At 23h13 the moon starts recovering from the eclipse, which will be over by 24h19.”
The next total lunar eclipse will only be visible in Africa in 2025.
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Where can you watch the eclipse?
You can watch the eclipse from your own back yard. The eclipse will be visible with the naked eye. However, ASSA will also be holding public viewing events:
- Cape Town: at the V&A Waterfront
- Johannesburg: at the Observatory
- Gansbaai: at Pearly Beach