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Partial lunar eclipse will be visible on 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 launch

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Skywatchers in much of the world can witness a partial lunar eclipse on Tuesday or early Wednesday, depending on where you are. The eclipse coincides with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 launch which first landed astronauts on the moon.

The celestial event will be visible for much of the globe, but not in the U.S. The eclipse will be visible across Africa, much of Asia, the eastern part of South America and western Australia. It will miss North America except for the most eastern and southern parts of the continent. The last total lunar eclipse happened in January and the next partial lunar eclipse won't happen until November 2021.  

In a cosmic coincidence, the eclipse falls on the same date when, five decades earlier, Apollo 11 began its voyage into history. The Saturn V rocket carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969 — and four days later, man first set foot on the moon. 

What is a partial lunar eclipse?

A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth, sun and moon are almost exactly in line and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, explains the Royal Astronomical Society. The full moon moves into Earth's shadow before dimming dramatically. It usually remains visible, lit by sunlight that passes through Earth's atmosphere. 

For observers here on Earth, the eclipsed part of the moon may appear as blood red or dark gray. 

What time does the lunar eclipse start tonight? 

Check TimeandDate to know exactly when to look up if you're within the zone that can see the lunar eclipse. The moon will begin to rise at 21:07 BST in London (4:07 p.m. ET), with the maximum eclipse occurring about an hour and half later, at 5:30 p.m. ET. 

How to watch the partial lunar eclipse

If you're not in a place with a direct view of the partial lunar eclipse, the Royal Observatory Greenwich will be streaming a live feed of the event on Facebook Live, which you can watch below, beginning at 5 p.m. ET.  The Virtual Telescope Project will also share a live stream of the lunar eclipse above the skyline of Rome.

Partial lunar eclipse live

Watch the incredible partial lunar eclipse live from telescopes at the Royal Observatory during our Space Live on 16 July. Comment below with your questions and our astronomers will answer them during the stream. Find out more about the lunar eclipse:

Posted by Royal Museums Greenwich on Wednesday, July 10, 2019
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