Blood moon rises but clouds spoil party for many

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The moon will be in flawless alignment with the sun and Earth on Friday, with the moon on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun. The partial eclipse of the moon will begin at 11.54 pm on July 27 and the total eclipse will begin at 1 am on July 28.

There will also be some time before and after when the moon is in the lighter part of Earth's shadow, which is called the penumbra.

"However instead of turning black as you might expect, the atmosphere of the Earth bends the light of the sun onto the moon causing it to turn a deep red colour".

"All eclipses are spectacular", the Royal Astronomical Society's Robert Massey said.

Before this, Mars and Earth were seen closest in 2003.

Dr Emily Brunsden, director of the University of York's Astrocampus, added that this eclipse was a "micro blood moon".

The eclipse will already have started by the time the Moon rises over the United Kingdom and Western Europe.

Blood moons are not unusual occurrences.

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It will pass into the shadow of the Earth, blocking the light from the sun and the atmosphere of the Earth will bend the light of the sun onto the moon. The total eclipse will last from 19:30 to 21:13 GMT.

Amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere were best-placed to witness the rare sight, especially in southern Africa, Australia, and Madagascar, though it was also visible in Europe, South Asia and South America. The almost two-hour will be visible to people in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, according to NASA.

"The children asked me why the moon turns red during a lunar eclipse and why don't solar and lunar eclipses happen every month".

The eclipse won't be visible to viewers in North America, except via webcasts. The entire United States won't be able to see a full lunar eclipse again until January. Watch CBSN's live stream of the coverage of the eclipse from Johannesburg and around the world in the player above. That means the planet and the sun will be on exact opposite sides of the Earth and will shine its best. This occurs at the same time that it will reach one of its closest points to the Earth, about 35.9 million miles away.

Mars will more likely appear as a very bright star.

On Tuesday, July 31, Mars will make its closest approach to Earth in 15 years, according to NASA. So if bad weather disrupts your opportunity on Friday, there will be more chances.

At the same time, Mars will hover near the moon in the night sky, easily visible with the naked eye.

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