Red planet and 'blood moon' set to pair up to dazzle skygazers

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The eclipse is predicted to last a record-breaking 1 hour 43 minutes.

- In Auckland the eclipse is still partial as the Moon disappears below the horizon.

"Our talks this year put a heavy accent on our environment to help make people aware that while looking up at the heavens it is still vital to ensure we preserve our planet", Prof.

A total lunar eclipse is said to appear from July 27 to 28.

A majority of Earth is in for an astronomical treat on Friday: the longest total lunar eclipse, also known as a blood moon, in a century. Mars will also be very close to the pint-sized red moon, and will be bright enough to be seen with the naked eye as a small, reddish speck.

During the eclipse, the Earth, sun and moon will be in a single line, with the Earth in between the sun and the moon.

But if you're going to be in a part of the world where you won't get a direct view of the eclipse (or if it's cloudy where you are), you do have some options.

Unlike a solar eclipse, no special equipment or glasses are needed to view a total lunar eclipse, although onlookers will require cloud-free weather.

Although the actual point of opposition will take place on July 27, Mars will be noticeably larger for the majority of the month of July.

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South-eastern observers will be able to see the eclipse for somewhat longer than north-western ones.

Could the Moon have been seeded with life from Earth? The eclipse will also be visible in the region covering Australia, Asia, Russia - except the northern part, Africa, Europe, east of South America and Antarctica.

The Eclipse is expected to reach its peak around 9:21pm and wane from then until the eclipse ends around 12:30am of the 28th of July 2018.

"Whether life ever arose on the Moon, or was transported to it from elsewhere, is of course highly speculative and can only be addressed by an aggressive future program of lunar exploration".

They have interpreted passages in the Bible ("The Sun will turn into darkness, and the Moon into blood, before the great and awful day of the Lord comes") as evidence.

A paper written by astrobiologists from Washington State University and the University of London theorizes that conditions on the surface of the Moon could have supported "simple life-forms" right after the Moon was formed 4 billion years ago, and during the lunar volcanic activity that occurred 3.5 billion years ago.

But from 10.15pm until 11.20pm, the sun will have descended a bit and the moon will have risen further creating a better image for viewers of the eclipse.

Hence a black shadow will be seen taking a bite out of the moon.

Prof. Zarb Adami, an astrophysicist, explained that the reason this lunar eclipse was the longest of the 21st century was because it passed through the centre of Earth's shadow, increasing the time in which the moon was blocked from the sun.