Huzzah, all you fans of astral bonanzas and the nearby cosmos for this weekend the Earth shall witness the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. Even better for us Beijingers is that the eclipse will be totally visible throughout its 103-minute duration (should the smog and freak weather we’ve had as of late hold off).
Looking to the southwest, the big event will kick off at around 1.14am on Saturday morning, at which point the moon will start to move into the Earth’s umbra (its shadow), gradually becoming darker. Once the moon is fully eclipsed (at around 3.30am), depending on conditions, it may start to appear red due to the sun’s light being refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere and onto the moon. This is what lends it the name “blood moon.”
The whole process will then reverse, with the moon slowly leaving the Earth’s umbra and turning back to the white ball of rock that we all know and love (at approximately 5.15am). For a breakdown of the exact times and direction of the eclipse, click here.
As for visibility, unfortunately, it does seem like we may be battling a little cloud but the smog will be in check and is forecast to be less than 50 AQI.
We’ve already been privy to one pretty stupendous astronomical event this year, and although Saturday morning’s total lunar eclipse is unlikely to, ahem, trump January’s super blue blood moon, be comforted in the knowledge that we’re all very unlikely to see the 22nd century’s longest lunar eclipse so let us revel in this one while it lasts. It also makes for the perfect opportunity to listen to the best song about the moon ever made (other moon-related music suggestions welcome below).