A highlight for stargazing was the total lunar eclipse on 28, July 2018. The eclipse was visible in a clear night sky from Kathu in South Africa. However, the total lunar eclipse on July 28, 2018, started in the evening in the Northern Cape at 19:14. It was exactly the right time after sunset for watching the magic.
Interesting in this lunar eclipse was that planet Mars had the nearest position to the moon for 15 years. In addition, Mars had the nearest distance to earth as well. This constellation happens only for one time during 25000 years. That reason makes Mars a bright shiny object on the sky.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth takes a position between the moon and the sun, simply spoken. Lunar eclipses are not so rare as expected. It was already the second this year. The next lunar eclipse will occur on January 21, 2019.
When the eclipse started a shade moved over the moon disk until the moon was fully covered. That took around one hour. During this time the moon changed its colour into a deep red. For the next hour, the moon kept its dark red colour. In between this time the lunar eclipse reached its maximum.
The deep dark red gives the moon a mystical glance. From now on the shadow moved out of the moon and the colour changed back to usual yellow.
The cool clean air was perfect for a stunning eclipse. In addition, light pollution isn’t so strong in Kathu. That makes the planet Mars easily to identify as well. The night sky magic finished after 6 hours at 1:30 the next morning. The duration was the longest for a total lunar eclipse in this century. With 103 minutes it was a long enjoyable lunar eclipse.