Rare Blood Micromoon Visible Tonight

Skywatchers across parts of Asia, the Americas, Australia, and especially New Zealand will witness a rare lunar spectacle tonight. A blood micromoon lasting several hours has not occurred for hundreds of years. In New Zealand, for example, the last was in 1212, during the time of Genghis Khan, King John of England, and the Children’s Crusade.

The moon will turn red as the Earth’s shadow covers 97% of its surface. The phenomenon will be visible for over three hours. In New Zealand, it begins at 8:20 pm. Astronomers predict that the red hue will peak at 10 pm.

While a total lunar eclipse often lasts three-and-a-half hours, “for a partial eclipse to last this long is very rare,” said Rob Davison of the Stardome Observatory told The Guardian.

Currently, the moon is at its apogee. This means that it is at the furthest point in its orbit from the Earth, approximately 400,000km away. This is why it’s called a micromoon. (The perigee occurs when the moon is at its closest point, and you get a supermoon.)

You can find out what time the blood moon will be visible in your area or live stream the event here.