Where to see this Friday's blood moon, the longest lunar eclipse of the century

It is projected to last for more than 100 minutes, and begins Friday July 27.

The longest lunar eclipse of the century will be an incredible sight for a good part of the world, and the penumbra and umbra (partial and total eclipse) will be cast to mostly the Middle East, south and eastern Africa, western and southeast Asia, and finally India.



Image by Piruliton, Creative Commons licensed.

It happens when Earth casts its shadow onto the lunar surface as it passes between the sun and moon. 

Alas, none of it will be visible in North America. You can, however, watch it as it happens, online at several locations: TimeAndDate.com has one, as does the Virtual Telescope Project


A Super Blue Blood Moon rises behind the Camlica Mosque on January 31, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

If you’re planning to watch it online it begins at 1:14 p.m. ET, and maximum totality, or the blood moon, begins at 04:21 p.m. ET. 

In total, the full lunar eclipse will last one hour and 42 minutes, the longest it will be this century. The moon will turn into a dark glowing red disc, which is from the sun’s rays passing through Earth’s atmosphere and being filtered by it. That color is where the term “blood moon” comes from.

Here’s an image captured in 2014 when that happened; if you have even decent photographic equipment, you can do the same. 


Image by author, captured Oct. 7, 2014, Jackson, MI.

Noah Petro, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, gave some guidance to ABC News for those willing to travel to see it, including “… Either renting a boat and driving it to the middle of the Indian Ocean or visiting relatives in Ethiopia for the best seat in the house.”

The next shot at seeing a total lunar eclipse, though not as long as this one, will be January 21, 2019; it will be a super moon, just like this one, which is a full moon or new moon that is at its closest point to the Earth in its orbit.

There’s also a partial lunar eclipse in July of 2019 in the United States. 

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Are modern societies trying too hard to be clean, at the detriment to public health? Scientists discovered that a microorganism living in dirt can actually be good for us, potentially helping the body to fight off stress. Harnessing its powers can lead to a "stress vaccine".

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that the fatty 10(Z)-hexadecenoic acid from the soil-residing bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae aids immune cells in blocking pathways that increase inflammation and the ability to combat stress.

The study's senior author and Integrative Physiology Professor Christopher Lowry described this fat as "one of the main ingredients" in the "special sauce" that causes the beneficial effects of the bacterium.

The finding goes hand in hand with the "hygiene hypothesis," initially proposed in 1989 by the British scientist David Strachan. He maintained that our generally sterile modern world prevents children from being exposed to certain microorganisms, resulting in compromised immune systems and greater incidences of asthma and allergies.

Contemporary research fine-tuned the hypothesis, finding that not interacting with so-called "old friends" or helpful microbes in the soil and the environment, rather than the ones that cause illnesses, is what's detrimental. In particular, our mental health could be at stake.

"The idea is that as humans have moved away from farms and an agricultural or hunter-gatherer existence into cities, we have lost contact with organisms that served to regulate our immune system and suppress inappropriate inflammation," explained Lowry. "That has put us at higher risk for inflammatory disease and stress-related psychiatric disorders."

University of Colorado Boulder

Christopher Lowry

This is not the first study on the subject from Lowry, who published previous work showing the connection between being exposed to healthy bacteria and mental health. He found that being raised with animals and dust in a rural environment helps children develop more stress-proof immune systems. Such kids were also likely to be less at risk for mental illnesses than people living in the city without pets.

Lowry's other work also pointed out that the soil-based bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae acts like an antidepressant when injected into rodents. It alters their behavior and has lasting anti-inflammatory effects on the brain, according to the press release from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prolonged inflammation can lead to such stress-related disorders as PTSD.

The new study from Lowry and his team identified why that worked by pinpointing the specific fatty acid responsible. They showed that when the 10(Z)-hexadecenoic acid gets into cells, it works like a lock, attaching itself to the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR). This allows it to block a number of key pathways responsible for inflammation. Pre-treating the cells with the acid (or lipid) made them withstand inflammation better.

Lowry thinks this understanding can lead to creating a "stress vaccine" that can be given to people in high-stress jobs, like first responders or soldiers. The vaccine can prevent the psychological effects of stress.

What's more, this friendly bacterium is not the only potentially helpful organism we can find in soil.

"This is just one strain of one species of one type of bacterium that is found in the soil but there are millions of other strains in soils," said Lowry. "We are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg in terms of identifying the mechanisms through which they have evolved to keep us healthy. It should inspire awe in all of us."

Check out the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology.