Lunar eclipse: Blood moon will not be the only glowing red sight to watch tonight as Mars joins celestial show

The red planet is closer to us than it has been in 15 years

Andrew Griffin
Friday 27 July 2018 10:45
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Blood Moon 2018: the longest lunar eclipse of the century

The lunar eclipse is about to arrive. And then, straight after, something almost as stunning.

The blood moon will be followed by a visit from Mars – which will be more visible than usual, since it is closer to us than it has been in 15 years.

Much excitement has built for the arrival of the lunar eclipse on Friday evening, which will be the longest this century. At that time, the Earth will move between the Sun and the Moon, blocking out and distorting the light and turning it a deep red.

And then Mars will arrive – looking much the same but smaller. It will be visible to the naked eye, and you should be able to get a good view of both of the celestial objects with a pair of binoculars.

If you're trying to find Mars, look up towards the moon first. If you can see it, Mars should be slightly to the right and below the Moon, and will arrive shortly after.

The lunar eclipse is set to begin around 9pm in the UK, depending on whereabouts you are. But it will probably be 10pm before the full sight can be seen, when the sky gets darker and the dim disc of the Moon becomes more prominent.

But there is some concern that the sight might be obscured by the equally dramatic weather expected in the UK. Thunderstorms have been forecast to arrive just at the same time the Moon does – though the length of the eclipse should mean that you will be able to see some of it, even if the clouds and rain get in the way.

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