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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 22 October 2020

Why we won't get to see tomorrow's lunar eclipse in Ireland


CRONUTS, NEW EPISODES of Mad Men, and now the moon – sometimes it seems like the US gets some of the best stuff first.

Tomorrow will see the first of two total lunar eclipses this year – but for those of us living on this side of the Atlantic, we’re not going to get to see much of anything.

And it’s not just us: Europe, Africa and central Asia will all miss out on the total eclipse, while North and South America gets to bathe in its reddish glow.

This is what we’ll be missing:

The reason is simple: daylight. The eclipse is due to begin at around 7am GMT tomorrow, according to NASA, and will last for three hours, so the sun rising will mean that the sky will be too bright to see the eclipse.

However the timing is just right for the Pacific Basin and North and South America, where it will be seen in the middle of the night.

Astronomy Ireland has advised that the extreme southwest of Ireland will technically have the best view because the moon will set there later than anywhere else,  but has warned people not to get their hopes up too much.

How they happen

Lunar eclipses happen when the Sun, Earth and moon are in perfect alignment, with the moon in the Earth’s shadow. The total eclipse is the best type of lunar eclipse as it means that the entire moon is shadowed and appears to be dusky red, instead of the usual white glow.

lunar eclipse Source: Science@NASA

They’re sometimes known as ‘blood moons’, because of the strange tone of the moon during the eclipse.

The only other lunar eclipse of this year will be on 28 September, while we’ll have to wait until 4 April 2015 for the next one after that.

On the plus side, NASA is going to livestream the eclipse here, if you want to stay up late tonight and tell your work colleagues all about it tomorrow. And at least there’s a full moon tonight. So there’s always that.

Source: CoconutScienceLab/YouTube

Read: One small step: China lands spacecraft on the moon > 

Read: Your Reminder of How Stunning Ireland Can Look Pic of the Day > 

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