Blood Moon rising: Century's longest lunar eclipse underway

The moon will rise totally eclipsed at 9:30pm

Blood Moon rising: Century's longest lunar eclipse underway

A blood moon rises over Gaza City, 27-07-2018

A spectacular red moon is rising across our skies tonight - providing clouds don't block your view.

It's the longest total lunar eclipse this century.

Astronomer Tom Kerss explains why it'll be such a distinctive colour.

“The moon passes – in this case – right through the bull’s-eye of the Earth’s shadow in space,” he said.

“But while we might think or our shadows as being dark, the Earth’s shadow is actually flooded with red light.

“Sunlight that has been refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere.

The eclipse is the longest one this century and coincides with Mars’ closest approach in 15 years.

The moon has been fully of partly in the Earth’s shadow since around 6:15pm – and will remain so until around 12:30am.

The period of total eclipse began at 8:30pm and will last till close to 10:15pm.

No equipment is needed to view the eclipse, although - where there is no cloud-cover - binoculars will give moon gazers the best view.

David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland Magazine, says the spectacle will last for nearly two hours.

“There are three phases to the eclipse for Ireland tonight," he said.

“First of all the sun will set and the moon will rise totally eclipsed already at 9:30pm.”

“The total eclipse lasts until 10:15pm and then until 11:20pm the moon will slowly slip out of the Earth’s shadow.

“That is one of the most spectacular events - you will see the curved shadow of the Earth on the moon.”