Red moon and sparkling Mars delight stargazers

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At 4.30am, as the Earth snuck between the sun and the moon, a shadow began creeping across its satellite.

July's lunar eclipse coincided with the lunar apogee when the moon is furthest away from the Earth in its monthly orbit, meaning it takes longer to cross its shadow.

Unlike a solar eclipse - where the moon crosses in between the Earth and the sun - it is perfectly safe to look directly at the Blood Moon without sunglasses or protective eyewear. Unfortunately for anyone in the US, the eclipse will not be visible.

According to some Hindu beliefs, celestial bodies such as the sun and moon emit negative energy during an eclipse and so some temples in India were closed to minimize any disturbance.

During a very dark eclipse the moon may be nearly invisible.

He said: "I shot a time-lapse video of the Blood Moon and lunar eclipse in the wilayat of Ibri from 11.30pm until 12am". In a famous passage in the Book of Joel in the Hebrew Bible, it warns that "the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and bad day of the Lord comes".

The website www.timeanddate.com also offers the exact locations and timing of the eclipse as it moves from Friday into Saturday.

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Science centre skips celestial event

"In the middle of a lunar eclipse it can look as if a red planet has taken up residence near the Earth - they are both eerie and attractive", Robert Massey of the RAS said.

North America, much of the Pacific Ocean and most of the Arctic didn't see a thing.

In Tamil Nadu, a large number of people saw the captivating lunar eclipse at the B.M. Birla Planetarium which had made special arrangements with high-tech telescopes.

Our red moon had some company Friday, when Mars was the closest it's been to Earth in 15 years.

Durban residents had their eyes to the skies from the onset of darkness, watching as the moon entered Earth's shadow. "At most perihelic oppositions, including this one, the planet retreats to the belly of the ecliptic low in the southern sky".

Viewers received an extra treat, with Mars competing for attention, sparkling brightly.

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