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Friday’s partial lunar eclipse will be longest in 580 years

Look up, night owls.

A partial lunar eclipse takes place early Friday and astronomers say it will be the longest in several centuries, lasting nearly 3.5 hours.

Weather permitting, sky watchers in many parts of the world – including North America, South America, East Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Ocean – will be able to attend. at least part of the show.

Lunar eclipses can be long, but the total duration of this event, clocked at 3 hours and 28 minutes, makes it the longest in 580 years, according to the Holcomb observatory in Indianapolis.

Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth slides between the sun and the moon, creating a celestial alignment that prevents sunlight from falling on the lunar surface. When this happens, the moon typically darkens and takes on a reddish hue, an effect caused by Earth’s atmosphere, which scatters sunlight and projects it onto the face of the moon.

The moon will touch Earth’s outer shadow shortly after 1 a.m. ET, but the sky show will officially begin shortly after 2 a.m. ET. NASA has said the best views are likely to occur around the peak of the eclipse, which means setting an alarm tonight at around 4 a.m. ET or 1 a.m. PT.

As it moves in Earth’s shadow, it will appear to the naked eye as if a bite has been removed from the moon, according to NASA. At approximately 3:45 a.m.ET, the rusty red coloration will become visible, last for about 30 minutes, and gradually fade after the peak of the eclipse.

Although the event is a partial lunar eclipse, NASA has said that up to 99.1% of the moon will move into the darkest part of Earth’s shadow, or what’s known as the shadow, which will make it an “almost total” lunar eclipse.

Unlike solar eclipses, it is not necessary to wear protective eyewear to witness a lunar eclipse and it can be safely seen with the naked eye.

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