This phenomenon occurs about twice a year, when the Sun, Earth and Moon are perfectly aligned. The eclipse will be visible from parts of the American, European and African continents. Some Earthlings will be able to witness a total lunar eclipse on the night of Sunday to Monday, an infrequent celestial spectacle during which the nocturnal star loses its brilliance and gradually turns red. The eclipse will be visible from parts of the American, European and African continents between moonrise and moonset. Read alsoJeff Koons will exhibit sculptures on the Moon This phenomenon occurs about twice a year, when the Sun, Earth and Moon are perfectly aligned, and the Moon is in its full phase. The star slips into the shadow of the Earth, which then shields the sun’s rays, and gradually loses its white glow. But it does not go out for all that: the Earth continues to send back to the Moon light from the Sun, via rays which take on a red hue by a process of “refraction of the atmosphere”, explains to AFP Florent Deleflie, from the Paris-PSL Observatory. An eclipse of around five hours “During an eclipse, only the Earth can illuminate the Moon via this re-emission of red rays”, continues the astronomer. “It’s very intriguing to see a bright, white Moon take on a red, extinguished hue over the minutes,” he adds. Visible with binoculars as with the naked eye, the phenomenon can give “spectacular photos” if the weather conditions are good. The eclipse will last about five hours, and its totality phase – when the star is completely in the Earth’s shadow – a little over an hour. “Observation from the West Indies or Guyana will be ideal, because the Moon will be very high in the sky,” according to the Observatory. The eclipse will also be visible in full in South America, Central America, and eastern parts of North America. In mainland France, the eclipse will be total at the end of the night between 5:29 a.m. and 6:54 a.m., with a maximum at 6:11 a.m.: the lunar disc will then be completely red. Note that the Moon will set during this phase of totality, at the same time as the Sun will rise. It will therefore be all the easier to observe the phenomenon if you are in the west of France, where the Sun rises later than in the east. Read alsoEverything you need to know about the first portrait of the black hole nestled in the heart of our galaxy The Moon will be very low in the sky and to take full advantage of the eclipse, you will have to choose a place where the horizon is “ cleared to the west”, advises Florent Deleflie. The next total lunar eclipse is scheduled for November 2022, in the middle of the Pacific. In mainland France, the last dates back to January 2019 and the next will not take place until 2029. Lunar eclipses have shown that the Earth was round “from antiquity”, underlines the astronomer. “On the surface of the lunar disc, the limit between the shadow and the part illuminated by the Sun is slightly curved: this is the projection of the roundness of the Earth”. SEE ALSO – Juice, the European space probe is preparing to study the icy moons of Jupiter
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