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Thursday, 20 January, 2000, 18:54 GMT
Once in a red moon event

The Moon should appear deep red


The lunar eclipse visible from the UK on Friday morning promises to be particularly spectacular as events on earth and space conspire to produce a blood red moon.

Sunlight from a lunar eclipse filters through dust in the earth's atmosphere to give the moon an eerie red glow, but this year it promises to be a particularly vivid colour.

Eclipse tips
Eclipse begins at 0301 GMT
Totality at around 0415 GMT
Best viewed away from street lighting
Binoculars are ideal, and safe
Robin Scagell, vice-president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said the volcanic eruption in Guatamala a week ago would have thrown up a lot of dust and could ensure a dramatic eclipse.

"The moon is going to turn darker and redder," he said.

"It's going to be a very unusual sight and definitely worth staying up for if the weather's clear."

The eclipse should be visible from 0301 GMT, when the Moon enters the Earth's shadow. Low in the western sky, the Moon will gradually darken until totality occurs between 0405 GMT and 0522 GMT.

The best place to view the eclipse is along the south coast of England and in the south west.

South Wales and the Pennines are also expected to see clear skies overnight, with good viewing possibilities.

Cloudy skies are likely elsewhere, although the Moon should still be visible during any breaks in the cloud cover.

Astronomers said the best way to view the lunar eclipse was to stand away from street lights and use a pair of binoculars.

It is not necessary to protect the eyes as with a solar eclipse.




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See also:
18 Jan 00 |  Sci/Tech
Moon to blush bright red
26 Jul 99 |  Sci/Tech
Moon probe threatened by eclipse
24 Aug 99 |  Eclipse99
Signs and wonders
17 Jan 00 |  Americas
Volcano eruption forces evacuation

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