Blood Moon: When Will the U.S. Next See a Lunar Eclipse?

You may well have heard that the July 27 full moon will feature the longest lunar eclipse this century—bathing our rocky friend in a warm, reddish glow. Unfortunately, if you're watching from the U.S. mainland, you won't be able to see the blushing orb.

The eclipse will take place between 2.24 p.m. and 6.19 p.m. ET, finishing about two hours before the moon rises over New York at 8.18 p.m. ET. The end of the eclipse is a whopping five hours before moonrise in San Franciso, which will take place at 8.29 p.m PT (11.29 p.m. ET).

Sky watchers in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, much of Europe and Africa and even parts of South America will be treated to at least some of the eclipse. You can check if and when it will be visible in your area at timeanddate.com.

But don't worry if you're set to miss out. Lunar eclipses occur multiple times a year, and the U.S. only has a six-month wait before its next blood moon.

The Americas lie in the heart of the viewing zone for January 21, 2019's lunar eclipse. "It looks like [the moon] will be in full eclipse for just over an hour, so even if there are a few clouds in the sky, you might have a good chance to catch a break," NASA program scientist and lunar geologist Sarah Noble told Newsweek.

North and South America, as well as slivers of Europe, Asia and Africa will experience the entire eclipse. Most of Europe and Africa will at least experience parts of the eclipse, but Australia and most of Asia will miss out entirely. You can check whether you will see the January eclipse in your region on this timeanddate.com map.

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A blood moon is pictured above Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim Won-Jin/AFP/Getty Images

If you live in the U.S. but can't wait till next year, you can watch the July lunar eclipse online with live streams from websites including the Virtual Telescope Project (VTP) and timeanddate.com. VTP's stream will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET and timeanddate.com's will start at 2.00 p.m. ET.

A lunar eclipse occurs when our planet casts a shadow on our rocky friend, blocking out sunlight. When the whole moon lies within Earth's "umbra"—the dark, central zone of our planet's shadow—this is called a total lunar eclipse. The eclipse's reddish glow occurs when sunlight is filtered and refracted by the Earth's atmosphere on its way to the moon.

"Shorter wavelengths [greens and blues] get scattered more than longer wavelengths [reds and oranges], the same phenomenon that gives us red skies at sunrise and sunset," Noble explained. "You can think of the reddish color as all of the sunrises and sunsets on Earth at that moment reflected off the surface of the Moon.

"Like our sunrises and sets, the exact color will depend on the dust and clouds in the atmosphere and can vary from brown to brick red to copper or orange."

Unlike a solar eclipse, which can damage your eyes, watching a lunar eclipse without protection is perfectly safe. "There is no protection needed to see a lunar eclipse and no special equipment either. Your naked eyes will do just fine," Noble said.

Although some people think the spectacle will signal an upcoming apocalypse, in reality the July eclipse is just one of five total lunar eclipses Earthlings will witness over the next four years.

This article has been updated to include comment from Sarah Noble.