Update: this is the cloud prediction for tonight's ‘blood moon’ lunar eclipse, plus the best places to watch it from
- A spectacular full eclipse of the Moon will start at 9:30PM on Friday 27 July.
- The two-hour eclipse will produce a 'blood moon', something last seen in 2011.
- These are the weather predictions and a list of the events being held around the eclipse, the likes of which will not be seen again until 2029.
South Africans will be treated to a rare astronomical spectacle on Friday 27 July: a full lunar eclipse.
"This spectacle will capture the attention of millions, and we are especially fortunate here to have what are front-row seats to it," said Eddy Nijeboer, Chairperson, Cape Centre of the Astronomical Society of South Africa (ASSA). "This extraordinary event will not come again to the region until 2029."
South Africans should have a great view of the full Moon slipping into the Earth’s shadow, an event which last happened in SA seven years ago, said Dr Daniel Cunnama, Science Engagement Astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO).
We took a look at handy weather app - windy.com - apart from the Western Cape, the forecast is clear.
According to the weather app, clear weather should be expected over the majority of the country. However, certain regions along the Western Cape may not be so lucky.
The full Moon first begins to darken as it enters the earth’s shadow at 19:15, with totality beginning at 21:30.
By 9pm a large bank should have begun to move on past Cape Town, East along the coastline.
Unfortunately this means a high chance of heavy cloud cover over the areas between Stellenbosch through to Port Elizabeth, between the times of the eclipse and past 23:00.
The "blood" in the name comes from the reddish-brown colour the Moon takes on when Earth enters between it and the Sun, cutting off the direct light that usually brighten the lunar surface to white.
The eclipse will be visible country-wide and will be easily and safely visible to the naked eye.
The duration of total eclipse will be nearly two hours.
You should also be able to spot the planets Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.
These are the events planned around the lunar eclipse.
Cape Town (14% cloud cover)
- Members of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA), an association of amateur astronomers, alongside professional astronomers from the SAAO, will be offering the public a guided tour with an array of telescopes along the V&A Waterfront. The event kicks off at 6PM, from the Flag Pole Terrace.
Stellenbosch (70% cloud cover)
- Members of the Orion Observation Astronomy Group will set up telescopes at Dirtopia Trail Centre and Café on Delvera, and the eclipse will feature on-screen in the cafe. (Entry is R50)
Johannesburg (0% cloud cover)
- Join the ASSA JHB from 6PM at the Johannesburg Observatory, on the hill top at 18A Gill Street, Observatory.
Magaliesburg (0% cloud cover)
- MelonRouge is setting up telescopes and hosting a talk. (Entry is R150)
Hermanus (35% cloud cover)
- The Hermanus Astronomy Centre is setting up telescopes at in the parking terrain of NG Kerk Onrusrivier from 8PM.
Pearly Beach (45% cloud cover)
- Should you find yourself in the Cape Overberg, you can meet up with the South Cape Astronomy Club near Pearly Beach. The group’s event page can be found here from 8PM.
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