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Tuesday, August 28, 2007


More RARE than a blue moon, the moon is set to turn blood red tonight in a free night spectacular.


The moon eclipse will be visible in Melbourne from 6.52pm tonight, with the total eclipse from 7.52pm to 9.22pm.

In the first such occurrence since 2000, the Earth will block the sun's light shining on the moon, allowing only scattered sunlight to illuminate the planet's biggest satellite.

Stargazers can expect the moon to shift between shades of red, orange and yellow, as the atmosphere filters out most of the blue light.

The colours will depend on the extent of volcanic gas and dust in the atmosphere filtering the light.
Senior weather forecaster James Taylor said today the best views of the astronomical event would be in Melbourne's northern and north-western suburbs.

"There is some moisture moving in so there is likely to be some low level cloud out tonight, but there's no need to throw in the towel, because there is reasonable chance that there will be breaks in the cover," Mr Taylor said.

The lunar eclipse is visible at full moon when the sun, Earth and moon are perfectly aligned.

The last total eclipse was on July 16, 2000, according to Perry Vlahos from the Astronomical Society of Victoria.

"This is a lucky occurrence, especially because it's happening at a good time for kids and grown-ups alike to be able to enjoy," Mr Vlahos said.

He said those who wished to see the eclipse did not need any special equipment.

``All you need to do is walk outside and make sure you have an uninterrupted view of the eastern horizon,'' Mr Vlahos said.

The Astronomical Society of Victoria has invited the public to view the eclipse through telescopes, which will be set up from the top deck of the Ikea car park in Richmond from 6pm.

Dr Tania Hill, a Melbourne Planetarium astronomer, said it was completely safe to watch a lunar eclipse.

Ancient Chinese astronomers believed the eclipse showed the moon being consumed by celestial dragons.

Astrologers believe the full moon eclipse represent the time of endings, often in which we are forced to release attachments or relationships that are diverting us from our destiny.

The eclipse will be visible across the Pacific rim from Australia's east coast to the west coast of the American continent.

If you miss this one, the next total eclipse will not occur until 2011.
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