Blood micro moon rising: First images appear of near-total lunar eclipse

Kiwis are getting their first look at the initial stages of tonight’s near-total lunar eclipse, set to cast the moon in red.

It will be the longest partial lunar eclipse that is fully visible from Aotearoa in more than 800 years.

The moon’s face will be 97 per cent covered by the deepest part of the Earth’s shadow, turning the lunar surface briefly red.

Josh Kirkley, an astronomy educator at The Stardome Observatory and Planetarium, says the reason this particular eclipse – dubbed a blood micro moon – is special is because of the long time it will be on display.

“It’s going to be one of the longest we’ve had in about 800 years,” he said.

It will take place over three hours and 28 minutes in our night sky – the longest since the year 1212.

Weather permitting, skygazers will see the near-total eclipse begin very soon after moonrise at 8pm. They will then see earth’s shadow gradually cover the surface of the moon as it rises higher in the sky.

“The weather is looking pretty favourable around the motu today, but it will be rising in the northeast, so if anyone lives near a maunga, head up to the peak and you should get a nice view.”

Kirkley says the moon will also be only a few degrees away from Matariki in the sky, and they will rise at a similar time.

“As the eclipse is happening, we will have Matariki just below the moon, so it’s going to be a little tricky to see when the moon is rising but, as it dims, you’ll be able to see the cluster of stars.”

How to view the Blood Micro Moon

Begins: Fri, Nov 19, 2021 at 8:20pm

Maximum: Fri, Nov 19, 2021 at 10:04pm; 0.974 magnitude

Ends: Fri, Nov 19, 2021 at 11:48pm

– additional reporting Māori Television

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