The so-called Blood Moon eclipse will paint the lunar orb with an eerie red glow when it passes through Earth’s shadow. In the UK, the eclipse is scheduled to appear in the wee morning hours of Monday, January 21. This year, the Blood Moon passes over the western half of the globe and will be visible to North and South America, parts of Western Africa and parts Europe. The eclipse comes just six months after the last lunar eclipse over the UK was spoiled by incredibly poor weather and cloud cover.
What is the best time to see the Blood Moon lunar eclipse?
The eclipse will play out from start to finish in the morning hours when Britain is still in a deep slumber.
The initial stages of the eclipse will begin before 3am GMT but the real light show will peak just after 5am.
Penumbral eclipsing, which is the first stage of the three-hour-long eclipse, will begin around 2.36am when seen from London.
The Moon will then enter the Earth’s shadow around 3.33am – this will be when the partial eclipse begins.
Totality, when the Moon is in the darkest cone of the Earth’s shadow, will start at 4.41.
During the period totality, the Moon will take on a deep red hue from scattered sunlight bending around the edges of the planet.
Maximum eclipse, which is the midway point of the light show, will peak around 5.13am.
Tom Kerss, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, told Express.co.uk the Blood Moon is one of the most fascinating astronomical spectacles visible from Earth.
He said: “We’re going to see the Moon enter the umbral shadow and it will do that – start to touch the umbral shadow – around 3.30am.
“It won’t actually leave the umbral shadow completely until 7am more or less.
“So we’ll spend a full hour in the inside of the umbra, so we’ll get a full hour when the Moon is deep red – just about an hour and two minutes.
“And it’s a really amazing thing to witness because what we’re really seeing, even though we don’t normally appreciate it, is we are seeing the solar eclipse in motion.
“The eclipse, the gradual progression of the shadow across the Moon is showing us the Moon’s motion through space.”
The eclipse will be best visible around the time of the peak when it is bright red and low on the horizon.
Click here to read more about how you can best see the Blood Moon eclipse over the UK.
What times will the eclipse be visible from the UK?
Penumbral eclipse starts – 2.36am GMT
Partial eclipse starts – 3.33am GMT
Total eclipse starts – 4.41am GMT
Maximum eclipse – 5.12am GMT
Total eclipse ends – 5.43am GMT
Partial eclipse ends – 6.50am GMT
Penumbral eclipse ends – 7.48am GMT
Once the eclipse wraps up around 7am, you will not have another chance to see a total lunar eclipse until the morning of May 26, 2021.
But even that eclipse will not be visible from the UK and will instead pass over East Asia, Australia, the Pacific and North and South America, according to NASA.
Your next best opportunity will be to see a partial eclipse of the Moon on July 16, 2019.
Mr Kerss said the eclipse, which will last nearly three hours from start to finish, will obscure up to 50 percent of the Moon.
After that, there will be five penumbral eclipses of the Moon in the Earth’s faintest shadow, which most likely will be all but invisible to the naked eye.