‘Blood moon’ leaves Kenyans open-mouthed, next one in 2090

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A rare total lunar eclipse - expected to be the longest in the 21st century - is set to take place on Friday that will see the Earth's natural satellite turn blood red.

Skywatchers around much of the world have begun watching a complete lunar eclipse that is the longest of this century which coincides with Mars' closest approach in 15 years.

Totality will last about an hour and 43 minutes, and a partial eclipse can be seen before and after that.

Unlike solar eclipse, lunar eclipses are visible with the naked eye and people do not need to wear eye protection.

No protective eyewear is needed and the eclipsed moon will be visible in large parts of Europe and South America between sunset and midnight, as well as much of Asia and Australia, between midnight and sunrise on Saturday.

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As per Christian belief, the blood moon is said to signify the second arrival of Jesus Christ, as stated in Joel 2:31: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awful day of the Lord come". This occurs when an eclipsed moon can be seen on one horizon, while the rising sun can be observed on the other.

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"The moon should turn red, a little coppery and Mars, nicknamed the "red planet", will be next, very bright, with a slightly orange hue", he said to AFP. Here's what Joel says about that pending apocalypse, according to the King James translation: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the awful day of the Lordcome".

The blood moon was visible at different times across the globe when the sun, Earth and moon lined up perfectly, casting Earth's shadow on the moon.

Earlier, on Friday night, about 200 people from the ASV gathered at Braeside Park and watched Mars through 20 telescopes as it sat close to the moon.

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The term "blood moon" was popularised by Christian pastor John Hagee in 2013 following the release of the book Four Blood Moons, which highlighted a lunar sequence of four total eclipses that occurred in 2014/15.

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Across the rest of the United Kingdom views of the moon are not expected to be much better.

A full moon can be seen during a "blood moon" eclipse beside the Golden temple in Amritsar. It's also a "mini-moon" because the moon is the farthest from Earth and appears small.

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