July 14, 2024

The longest lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years is happening this Friday

2 min read

People from some parts of the world have the privilege of witnessing a 3-hour 28-minute total lunar eclipse in the early hours of Friday (19), the longest in nearly 600 years. This phenomenon occurs when the Moon is completely hidden by the Earth’s shadow, which makes the star disappear from the sky for a certain period of time.

According to Professor Rodolfo Lange, coordinator of the Astronomy Observatory at Unesp (São Paulo State University), in Brazil it will be possible to visualize only part of the phenomenon, since the moon should be set immediately after the onset of the eclipse.

Even though the Moon enters a semi-shadow region of Earth at 3:20 AM (Brasilia time), the star will only enter the planet’s shadow, correctly, at 4:20 AM.

“Because the penumbra is so subtle, it would be impossible to notice the phenomenon with the naked eye at this time. We will only begin to notice that the moon begins to get dark from 4:20 am. The maximum eclipse, in turn, will occur at about 6 am, when The sun is already shining,” he says.

Also, according to Lange, the moon will be above the western horizon during the extreme phase of the eclipse for residents of the northernmost region of the country, such as Manaus, the capital of Amazonas. Despite this, it would be so low in the sky that it would be very difficult to visualize the entire phenomenon.

“The event will be more noticeable in countries where it will be night during the eclipse,” Longi explained. This includes places like the West Coast of the United States, Hawaii and other islands in the Pacific Ocean.

To observe Friday’s eclipse, it will not be necessary to use astronomical instruments – however, those who wish to visualize the phenomenon more accurately can use simple binoculars or a reflecting type telescope. This type of instrument relies on mirrors rather than lenses, which provide better image detail than regular telescopes.

The professor also stresses that it is worth consulting the weather forecast, since observing the eclipse will only be possible in clear skies or with few clouds. Another trend is that the horizon is free from interference from buildings, trees, mountains or anything else that obstructs the view of the landscape.

* Trainee in R7 Under the direction of Fabio Flori

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