The 21st Century’s longest total lunar eclipse was witnessed around the globe on Friday and Saturday.
The total eclipse lasted 1 hour, 42 minutes and 57 seconds, though a partial eclipse preceded and followed, meaning the moon spent a total of nearly 4 hours in the Earth’s umbral shadow, according to NASA.
The fullest eclipse was visible from Europe, Russia, Africa, and much of Asia and Australia, though clouds blocked out the moon in some places. In India, the eclipse started at 10.44 pm and ended over six hours later on Saturday.
The unusually long duration of the eclipse was because the moon was near its farthest point from Earth and orbiting slowly, making it appear smaller and take longer to travel through Earth’s shadow, Space.com reported.
The next total lunar eclipse is on January 21, 2019.
The longest “blood moon” eclipse this century also coincided with Mars’ closest approach in 15 years. “It is a very unusual coincidence to have a total lunar eclipse and Mars at opposition on the same night,” said Robert Massey, deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society, according to The Hindu.