It was 50 years ago today that Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11 blasted off from Earth with the aim of setting foot on the moon.
So it’s somewhat fitting that tonight the UK will be treated to a lunar spectacle to mark the occasion: a partial lunar eclipse.
Providing the weather remains clear, most people around the country should get a good view of the event without the need to any specialist equipment.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth, sun, and moon are almost exactly in line and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.
The moon is full, moves into the shadow of the Earth and dims dramatically but usually remains visible, lit by sunlight that passes through the Earth’s atmosphere.
The eclipse can be seen in the UK from moon rise, which starts at approximately 9.07pm this evening, until around 1.17am.
According to the Royal Astronomical Society, mid-eclipse is expected to take place at 10.30pm, when about 60% of the visible surface of the moon will be covered by the umbra – which can sometimes appear red in colour to people observing from the ground due to a more powerful atmospheric scattering of blue light hitting the surface.
‘You’re looking for anywhere that has a low unobstructed horizon, no tall buildings and trees in the way,’ said Dr Morgan Hollis from the Royal Astronomical Society.
‘Unlike a solar eclipse it’s entirely safe to watch a lunar eclipse with the naked eye, so this one is fine, you don’t need any special equipment and it should be fairly warm as well, given temperatures recently, it should be good if the weather is clear and the conditions are clear.’
The event will also take place over much of Asia, Africa, eastern parts of South America, and the western parts of Australia.
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