Lunar eclipse

And now for something completely different: Most of my blog entries deal with travels and tourist spots. The moon is not (yet) such a destination. However, the 2018 lunar eclipse was a worthwile enough event for taking pictures and sharing them with you.

Moon over the hills around Basle, Switzerland
Moon over the hills around Basle, Switzerland

Why this event was special

Statistically speaking, a total lunar eclipse is not an absolute exception. It can be observed every two to three years. However, most of the time not always in full length. What made this particular lunar eclipse so special, was the time it lasted: The moon was in Earth’s shadow for more than one hour and forty minutes.

Moon with Mars as small companion
Moon with Mars as small companion

Moreover, at the same time, planet Mars was as close to the Earth as it can get. At around 58 million kilometers away from Earth, it was at this minimum distance 15 years ago. Since the Mars orbit is comparatively close to the Sun, it is especially bright in the sky. And also relatively large, which makes it very easy to spot without instruments.

Moon - Lunar Eclipse 2018
Moon – Lunar Eclipse 2018

All the data in this post applies for Central Europe, where the weather conditions were mostly favorable with clear skies.

Another view of the moon and mars near Basle, Switzerland
Another view of the moon and mars near Basle, Switzerland

A total lunar eclipse with a similar length and the exact same position of planet Mars occurs on average every 105000 years. So that marks this event as extraordinary. As for the next lunar eclipse of similar duration (but without planet Mars as a companion), you’ll have to wait until June 9th, 2123.