Image copyright Big Ben
The Earth’s closest approach to the sun this year is causing a “blood moon” eclipse that will last more than two hours.
The moon is heading towards the earth, and the entire shadow cast by the moon is growing darker.
This will be a red-tinged moon and look like a blood moon
Image copyright Sally Davies Image caption Sally Davies won the 2011 TV Wales talent competition with her version of James Ingram’s song I’m Every Woman
When is it happening?
This year, the total lunar eclipse begins around 2:30am EDT, that’s Wednesday 7 April.
Though the full eclipse does not begin until about 5:30am, the deep orange or red moon will be already rising in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and the total eclipse will be over.
Image copyright Space.com Image caption A lunar eclipse is when the Earth’s shadow is cast on the moon.
What’s the difference between a blood moon and an annular eclipse?
A blood moon is a kind of lunar eclipse that is visible from the entire Earth’s entire surface.
An annular lunar eclipse, also known as a so-called Super Blood Wolf Moon, is when the moon is not entirely eclipsed.
This means the sun, moon and Earth are lined up just right, so the moon looks like a smaller, reddish disk.
This happens to occur during a Super Moon when the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit.
This year’s lunar eclipse, known as a “supermoon”, is the closest the Earth has come to the sun in 226 years.
Image copyright Bigelow / Cascade Image copyright Bigelow / Cascade Image caption A reddish reddish moon is the result of the Earth passing through a series of supermoon phases during a lunar eclipse.
On May 16 last year, however, the eclipse was only partially eclipsed, though it will be seen by many this week.
What else can you see?
This week’s eclipse is a particularly good one for getting close to the moon, and for getting some special telescope views.
Even without binoculars, the moon will appear 10 times bigger and 30 times brighter than usual during the eclipse.
Image copyright Chris Brewster Image caption With or without a telescope, the moon can appear bigger and brighter during the eclipse.
Things you need to know:
– Get up in the dark morning at the precise time the total eclipse is ending. You might be able to see some sharp glimpses of the moon through this close-up.
– Don’t forget to look at Mars as it will appear bright and red.
– Most people who live in Asia, eastern North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Pacific coast of South America, South Atlantic and eastern Africa will be able to see the eclipse – this could be if their sky has a southern European or Mediterranean view.
Where and when is the next eclipse?
The next total lunar eclipse is on 2 October, when the full moon will be headed straight to the Earth and will pass directly through the Earth’s shadow.
For most of the UK, this will occur on 14 October. But, because of BST’s time difference, the eclipse will occur at 13:34 BST – more than an hour after the moon is already setting in most of western Europe.
Image copyright NASA Image caption The exact time will depend on whether the moon is still below the horizon, how far north latitude you are, how high the sun is in the sky and if you’re willing to get up before dawn.
So if you want to witness this eclipse, you’ll need to head out before dawn in the evening of 13 October to get a good view of it.