Here are the best places and times in Ireland to see the rare blood moon 3 years ago

Here are the best places and times in Ireland to see the rare blood moon

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On Friday night this week, one look at the sky will reveal the longest lunar eclipse of this century, a deep red blood moon.

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As the moon lines up with the Earth and the Sun, the moon will darken in colour switching from its silvery glow to a rustic, dark red colour.

The lunar eclipse will last 1 hour and 43 minutes long, close to the theoretical longest lunar eclipse possible and the longest of the 21st century. However, the eclipse will only be visible this long in Asia.

Speaking to JOE, David Moore, Chairman for Astronomy Ireland said: "We'll only see half of the eclipse in Ireland. We'll be able to see it at it's rising.

"As the sun sets at 9.30pm on Friday, the moon will rise at the same time. However it will be quite low and could be difficult to see."

Moore said that from 9.30pm until 10.15pm on Friday, the blood red colour of the moon will be dim and if there's any haze in the sky, it could make viewing difficult.

But from 10.15pm until 11.20pm, the sun will have descended a bit and the moon will have risen further creating a better image for viewers of the eclipse.

According to Moore, the best place to view it will be in the south-east of the country, somewhere with no trees or hills blocking the horizon.

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While we usually experience between one and four lunar eclipses per year, it is exceptionally rare to have such a long total lunar eclipse and even more so for it to come in the month of July.

Historically, blood red moons were seen as omen for terrible events with their deep red colour. In a famous passage in the Book of Joel in the Hebrew Bible, it warns that "the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes."

In a rare treat, Mars will add to the wonder on Friday night as it appears directly below the blood moon at near maximum brightness.

Mars is at its closest to Earth in its 35-year cycle, and is the closest it's been since the early 00s, and it won't be brighter or closer to Earth again until 2035. The best view of it will come after 11.20pm on Friday night.

"Mars will be 15 times brighter than the brightest star in the sky on Friday," Moore said. "It will be spectacular."

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Its appearance near the blood moon after sunset will give viewers a double vision in red.

There is no need to wear goggles or filters to watch a blood moon as is necessary with solar eclipses, it's completely safe to view with the naked eye.