Moon will turn red just before full during a rare lunar eclipse this month. But the best view will be some 200 miles up in the sky where the eclipse should be most spectacular
The next chance for the UK to see a total lunar eclipse is on 12 June – and it’s important to be aware of the best date to catch it.
The moon is a natural satellite, or satellite, which are constantly moving across the Earth’s surface and taking on a different colour, depending on its position in the sky. The exact position of the moon in the sky is known as the celestial ecliptic, a straight line pointing upwards which is found in the sky.
To see a total lunar eclipse, all that is needed is the moon to be above the horizon at the time when Earth will be directly between the moon and the sun.
But to see a partial lunar eclipse the moon has to be below the horizon when Earth is between the moon and the sun. To keep tabs on the moon and its movements, Nasa and other observatories maintain multiple orbital charts.
Because the moon will be in this “ascent” phase during the eclipse, in which its orbit around the Earth aligns with the sun, the moon will be at its brightest and at its greatest distance (at its furthest point from Earth) from us.
The sky should look dark, with the brightest part of the moon at the top and the darkest part at the bottom.
The best time to view the eclipse is while it is happening, but the best times of the eclipse will be around 7.30pm to 8.20pm UK time.
To watch for the precise moment the moon enters the dark part of the moon, which falls around 9.40pm, set your alarm clocks and have your skies turned dark.
For people on other continents who miss this one, you can still watch a partial lunar eclipse on 20 June for the west coast of America, central and northern Canada, all of Greenland, the western half of Alaska and as far south as Mexico.
There are three complete lunar eclipses in 2018 – none for the UK. But the next full eclipse, also known as a new moon, comes on 3 January 2019 – although the lunar eclipse this month is a partial one.
In the United States the moon will be at its closest point to the Earth, making it appear much closer than usual. In other parts of the world the alignment will make the moon appear larger than usual.