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‘Blood moon’ visible tonight

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A total lunar eclipse will be visible tonight in the Philippines, the state weather bureau said yesterday.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the eclipse would begin at 4:14 p.m. (Philippine Standard Time) and end at 9:35 p.m.

The eclipse begins with the penumbral phase. The partial eclipse, when the moon enters Earth’s dark shadow, will begin at 5:14 p.m.

At 6:25 p.m., the total eclipse will begin when the moon is fully engulfed in the Earth’s shadow and turns a shade of orange red, followed by the greatest eclipse at 6:54 p.m.

The total eclipse will end at 7:24 p.m. and the partial eclipse at 8:34 p.m.

In Manila, the moon will rise at 5:34 p.m. today and will set at 6:16 a.m. tomorrow.

PAGASA said the entire event would be visible from Asia, the Americas and Australasia.

“Lunar eclipses are safe to watch and observers need not use any kind of protective filters for the eyes. A pair of binoculars will help magnify the view and will make the red coloration of the moon brighter,” PAGASA said.

Lunar eclipses happen when the sun, moon and Earth are aligned just right for Earth’s shadow to cover the moon.

According to National Geographic, this year is one of the rare years with multiple lunar eclipses. Today’s eclipse will be the second in a series of four – a tetrad – over two years. That pattern won’t repeat for another 20 years or so.

The Philippines experienced a penumbral lunar eclipse last April 15.

The exact color of a blood moon varies, depending on the amount of dust in the Earth’s atmosphere at the time. Active volcanoes spewing tons of ash into the upper atmosphere, for instance, can trigger blood-red eclipses.

Earlier, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs)-Bicol head Ed Laguerta warned today’s total lunar eclipse may trigger an eruption of Mayon Volcano in Albay.

Laguerta said a lunar eclipse develops a significant gravitational pull on the magma in the volcano that can create pressures underground and generate seismicity, sea level rise or eruption.

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