A BLOOD moon will soon be illuminating the night sky in what is set to be a spectacular lunar event.
The special eclipse should be visible over almost all of Britain – if the clouds align. Here is when you should be looking to the heavens…
What is a blood moon total lunar eclipse?
A blood moon describes the phenomenon of the moon appearing bright, large and reddish in colour, and it only occurs when there is a full moon and a total eclipse is occurring.
During this eclipse, direct sunlight is completely blocked by the earth’s shadow.
The moon may turn red or coppery coloured during the total portion of an eclipse.
The red moon is possible because while the moon is in total shadow, some light from the sun passes through Earth’s atmosphere and is bent toward the moon.
The only light that can be seen is refracted through the earth’s shadow, and this light looks red just like with the sunset.
When will it appear this year?
The first lunar phenomenon of the year is due to appear for three hours on Monday, January 21.
The spectacle will be most visible in the UK just before 5.15am.
Overall the entire phenomenon will start just after 2.30am and will last until 7.48am, though it is only expected to be visible here for the last three hours.
Anyone who wants to glimpse the reddish moon is advised to find an open space with a clear view.
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Why does the moon turn red?
The moon appears as a red colour due to a phenomenon known as ‘Rayleigh scattering’.
Before the sunlight reaches the moon, it is filtered through the earth’s atmosphere which filters out certain colours.
The moon passes directly into the darkest region of the earth’s shadow at the precisely same time as its apogee, when the moon is the furthest away from the earth.
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