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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 July 2018

Super blood moon will be seen across UAE tonight 

Rare astronomical occurrence will be visible across the UAE shortly after 6pm on Wednesday

A plane flies backdropped by the moon in London on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, a 'Super Blue Blood Moon' will be visible to the naked eye. Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA
A plane flies backdropped by the moon in London on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, a 'Super Blue Blood Moon' will be visible to the naked eye. Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA

Stargazers are keeping their fingers crossed that cloudy weather will not obscure tonight’s rare appearance of a super blood moon.

The astronomical phenomenon means the Moon will appear larger than normal, and take on a reddish hue as it rises over the UAE at just after 6pm on Wednesday.

Weather forecasters are predicting scattered clouds and dust across the country – the only possible obstruction to witnessing what has been described as a once in a lifetime event.

The Moon’s unusual appearance is a combination of two things. The colour is due to a what is known as a blood moon, caused by a lunar eclipse, when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun, casting its shadow across the lunar surface.

Coincidentally, the Moon’s orbit is at its closest to Earth, making it appear around 16 per cent bigger in the night sky, or what is known as a super moon.

Unusually, it is also a blue moon, which is when the lunar cycle of around 29 days means a full moon occurs twice in a calendar month, as in the expression “once in a blue moon”.

In the US, this combination has not been seen since 1866, but was witnessed in Europe and Asia in 1982.

It will take place at sunset in the UAE, timed from 6pm onwards.

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Read more:

Rare 'super blue blood moon' to be visible in UAE next week

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The UAE is one of group of countries that will see the effect of a total lunar eclipse, which will last around three minutes.

But there will be a much longer partial eclipse lasting just over an hour.

Like the Sun, the Moon rises in the east, meaning it will align along the Abu Dhabi island and appear over the sea in Fujairah and the East Coast.

This July 27, the UAE should witness a second lunar eclipse, made more spectacular by the Moon’s proximity to Mars, which will be at its closest orbit to Earth since 2003.