Australian night owls will be treated to a lunar eclipse, and ash in the mood from a Chilean volcano could turn it blood red. A total lunar eclipse will take place on June 15, 2011. It is the first of two total lunar eclipses in 2011, the second occurring on December 10. The Astronomical Society of Victoria Perry Vlahos said, “There is a good chance there will be a full blood red moon tomorrow morning – much more than usual”.
Tonight’s lunar eclipse will be the longest total lunar eclipse since July 2000—and this lunar eclipse can be seen with naked eyes without the need of any special glasses.
Tonight’s lunar eclipse will be visible to observers in Africa, southern Asia, and Australia. During the eclipse, if the sky is clear and dark, people can see the brick-red Moon in the southwest, about 30 degrees from the horizon. The total darkness of the moon in the earth’s shadow will begin at around 00:52 hours and last till 02:33 hours.
Many people in South America, Western Africa and Europe will view the eclipse at moon rise. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon glides through the long shadow cast by the Earth and is blocked from the sunlight that illuminates it. The next lunar eclipse is expected on December 10, 2011. The previous total lunar eclipse was seen in Thailand on March 3, 2007.
NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland said that since the moon will pass close to the center of the Earth’s shadow, the total eclipse phase will be longer than usual.