Clear skies for Australia’s ‘blood moon’

A Sydney astronomer says Tuesday night’s "blood moon" lunar eclipse should be visible to most people across the country.

Lunar eclipses occur at least twice a year, somewhere in the world, but the last time a total eclipse was visible from Australia’s eastern states was in July 2000.

"It’s a pretty spectacular sight tonight. It’s also a convenient time for families and safe to look at," Nick Lomb, curator of astronomy at Sydney Observatory, told AAP.

"It’s rare but not as rare as a blue moon and we will have to find out if it is a full eclipse," he said.

If the sky is clear, most people should be able to see the moon become red as the earth’s shadow passed over it, Mr Lomb said.

The moon is expected to rise at 5.22 pm (AEST).

At 6.51pm (AEST) the eclipse will begin with earth’s shadow starting to block light travelling from the sun to the moon’s surface.

The eclipse will be full from 7.52pm (AEST) until 9.23pm (AEST), with the moon appearing red, because only the red component of sunlight will be diffracted around the earth onto its surface.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s website suggests relatively clear conditions for most of the country, although cloud is expected over parts of Victoria and southwestern Australia.

For those unfortunate to miss out due to bad weather, The Discovery channel is hosting a live broadcast of the eclipse on the internet at http://www.discoverychannel.com.au/eclipse

Source: SMH  

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