A lunar spectacle will grace Australia’s skies on Friday evening when the country experiences a partial eclipse, the longest since the 15th century.
Onlookers around Australia will witness the space spectacle — when the earth sits between the moon and sun — for an unusually long duration, of six hours and two minutes.
The almost-perfect 99.1 per cent coverage of the moon’s area by earth’s umbra will see it blaze in a dark reddish hue, as the light from the earth’s atmosphere is refracted onto it.
The eclipse will reach its maximum point at 8.02pm (AEDT), or 7.02pm (AEST) as the sun-cast symmetry aligns for the final time in 2021.
It will be visible around the country, as well as from North America, South America and parts of Europe and Asia.
An eclipse also never comes alone, with a solar eclipse always occurring about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse.
The next solar eclipse is expected on December 4.
In a partial lunar eclipse, only some of the full Moon is covered in shadow but tonight’s coverage will get as close as possible to a total lunar eclipse.
The action will begin before moonrise in Australia so you won’t see the entire process unfold.
Australians will see most, some, or just the end of the eclipse, with those in the southern end of the country enjoying a slightly longer experience.
When to watch the partial eclipse
NSW and ACT (AEDT)
The moon rises just after 7:30pm-7:45pm and will reach its maximum eclipse at 8:03pm.
The later moon rise in Melbourne at 8.12pm means the eclipse will already be at its peak and it may be hard to see what’s going on for the first half hour. The partial eclipse will end at 9.47pm.
Expect similar timing and experience to Melbourne.
Brisbane’s early moon rise at 6.14pm will give Queenslanders a good view.
Two thirds of the moon will be in shadow when it rises and the eclipse will end at 8.47pm.
South Australia (ACDT)
People in Adelaide will miss the eclipse at its peak at 7.32pm but will be able to see the second half of the show.
The partial eclipse ends at 10.33pm.
Northern Territory (ACST)
Darwin’s experience will be similar to Adelaide, rising at 6:53pm and ending at 9:33pm.
Western Australia (AWST)
Perth and south-west WA miss out as it will all be over by the time the moon rises at 7pm.
But further north where the moon rises early, watchers might catch the last 15 minutes before it ends at 6.47pm.