Total lunar eclipse of July 27, the longest of 21st century

A total lunar eclipse will take place on July 27, 2018, and be visible throughout most of Europe, Africa, western and central Asia, the Indian Ocean and Western Australia.

This will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting 1 hour and 43 minutes. In total, this eclipse will last nearly 4 hours.

During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red color. 

The instant of greatest eclipse takes place at 20:21 UTC. This is 0.6 days after the Moon reaches apogee. During the eclipse, the Moon is in the constellation Capricornus. The synodic month in which the eclipse takes place has a Brown Lunation Number of 1182.

The eclipse belongs to Saros 129 and is number 38 of 71 eclipses in the series, eclipse specialist Fred Espenak aka Mr. Eclipse notes. All eclipses in this series occur at the Moon’s descending node. The Moon moves northward with respect to the node with each succeeding eclipse in the series and gamma increases.

This total eclipse is central meaning the Moon’s disk actually passes through the axis of Earth’s umbral shadow. It has an umbral eclipse magnitude of 1.6087, and Gamma has a value of 0.1168.

Because they are so deep, such eclipses typically have the longest total phases. In this case, the duration of totality lasts 103.0 minutes. That qualifies the eclipse as a member of a select class of exceptionally long total eclipses with durations exceeding 100 minutes.

This total lunar eclipse is preceded two weeks earlier by a partial solar eclipse of July 13, 2018, and it is followed two weeks later by a partial solar eclipse on August 11, 2018.

The next total lunar eclipse will take place on January 29, 2018. It will be visible throughout North and South America, Europe and Africa.

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Featured image credit: Nick Bramhall

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