How To Watch Tonight's Blood Moon Safely

by Lia Beck
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The blood moon cometh! And if you want to know more about what it is, where you can watch it on July 27, and how to watch the July 2018 blood moon safely, you've come to the right place. You also are in luck on that last point, because it is safe to look at the blood moon without special eye protection — NASA says so. There are just some (hopefully more obvious) things you should still be careful with when viewing one. As for whether you can actually see the blood moon, that's another story. Basically, this particular blood moon is not the one for you if you're an American who will be in America on Friday.

First of all, we need to get straight what a blood moon is, and that's simple because it's just a total lunar eclipse. It's only called a blood moon because when a total lunar eclipse happens the moon looks sort of red and also "blood moon" sounds cool and mysterious. (There was also a blood moon prophecy about the apocalypse approaching four years ago, so, uh, check that out if you're interested.) When a partial lunar eclipse occurs, the moon does not appear as red or as striking, so these are not called blood moons.

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The blood moon on Friday, July 27 will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the century, which is super cool... if you can see it. Unfortunately for anyone in the U.S., the eclipse will not be visible. In fact, you will not be able to see it in North America at all unless you are in a specific part of Newfoundland, Canada, according to Vox. That said, pretty much everyone outside of North America will be able to witness it because of the timing of the moon rise. According to CNN, the totality of the eclipse will last around an hour and 43 minutes, with the entire time the moon is at least partially in the Earth's shadow being around four hours.

If you are in a location where the eclipse will be seen, you do not need any special sunglasses or other protective gear like you would for a solar eclipse, since lunar eclipses are not anywhere near the same as looking at the sun. In fact, a lunar eclipse is less bright than the normal full moon.

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That said, you should practice precaution if you're going to view it. Don't stare at the blood moon while driving. Don't climb on top of a dumpster to get a better view. Don't start crossing the street and then pause and go, "What in tarnation is that red thing?" while not noticing that the little walking man symbol has changed to the flashy orange hand symbol. Don't go on any rooftops that you're not supposed to be on. Don't accidentally make any sacrifices or practice any rituals that you're not ready for. Watch out for werewolves.

But, yeah, aside from using common sense, you should be good. And if you're in the U.S., while it is unfortunate that we won't be able to see the eclipse here, it's not the end of the world. (Or is it...)