Sunday 21 July 2019

'Take a day off work or school' astronomy experts recommend ahead of lunar eclipse next week

Full moon (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)
Full moon (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

Astronomy experts have encouraged people to "take a day off" to see the best lunar eclipse for the next 14 years.

A total lunar eclipse will take place on Monday morning, and with clear skies predicted, it might be the only time Irish people can see one as clear for another 14 years.

According to Astronomy Ireland, the total part of the eclipse runs for 62 minutes from 4:41am to 5:43am on Monday morning, when the Moon will be high in the West as seen from all of Ireland.

"There will be other total lunar eclipses between 2019 and 2032 but they will happen as the Moon sets or rises from Ireland thus spoiling the view," said editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine, David Moore.

"This total lunar eclipse on the morning of Monday January 21st will be entirely seen in Irish skies from start to finish so we are recommending everyone take a day off work or school and watch this amazing spectacle of nature when the brilliant full moon turns to a dim 'blood moon' for 62 minutes."

The full moon is known as a blood moon when it turns a reddish-brown colour, as it is lit up by light bent into the Earth's shadow by sunsets and sunrises.

"Irish people will not see an eclipse this good again until October 2032 so we want everyone to stay up late, or get up early and witness one of the most spectacular sights in nature," Mr Moore said.

A partial eclipse will also be visible in lead up to the total eclipse and after it is completed. This happens when the moon slips in and out of the earth's shadow.

This partial phase will happen both before totality, from 3:34am to 4:41am, and after totality from 5:43am to 6:51am on Monday morning.

Astronomy Ireland are encouraging members of the public to photograph the eclipse and send them to magazine@astronomy.ie.

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