The blood moon (Lunar eclipse), was experienced by Nigeria on Friday alongside other countries in Africa, the Middle East, Southern Asia and the Indian Ocean region to witness a total lunar eclipse.
The lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth and into its shadow, and this can only occur when the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are aligned exactly or very closely so, with the planet in between. When the Earth completely blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon and the only light reflected from the lunar surface appears reddish for the same reason that a sunset or sunrise does.
This reddish colour, a totally eclipsed Moon is sometimes called a blood moon. The recent lunar eclipse was the longest in this century and lasted for 103 minutes, and according to astronomers, this running time wouldn’t be matched until 2123.
The National Space Research and Development Agency, said that the lunar eclipse in Nigeria started around 6:44pm as partial eclipse and developed into a total eclipse around 7:30pm.
“Every couple of years or so, the Earth overtakes Mars on the inside as it orbits the Sun, so Mars is closest to us,” said Prof O’Brien.
“And because of the elliptical shape of the orbit, it’s even closer than normal.”
Where skies were free of cloud, the spectacle was visible almost everywhere around the world, with the exception of North America. The eclipse had already started by the time the Moon rose over the UK and Western Europe. People in the UK needed a clear south-eastern horizon as the Moon came up in order to see it.
The best views – where the weather permitted – were across Eastern Europe, Central and East Africa and South East Asia, from where the entire eclipse was visible.
Dr Emily Brunsden, director of the University of York’s Astrocampus, added that this eclipse was a “micro blood moon”.
“This is a total eclipse at a time in its orbit when it is close to being the farthest from Earth, or at apogee,” she said.
“Hence the Moon was fractionally smaller than usual.”