Martian Views and a Lunar Eclipse: July 27 Is the Best Night to Look Up

Mars and the moon are going to put on a show.

by Josie Rhodes Cook

Get ready, space geeks: The week of July 23 through July 29 is going to be pretty epic when it comes to celestial happenings. Stargazers can get pumped for several space events occurring simultaneously on July 27, so it’s a good time to get your telescope and your comfy stargazing chair prepped for the big night.

Friday will feature a total lunar eclipse, Mars at opposition, and the Delta Aquarid meteor shower at its peak. That’s a lot happening in the sky in just one day, but the rest of the week will feature some can’t-miss heavenly wonders as well.

Lunar Eclipse

Probably the biggest space event of the month is happening on July 27. That’s when the moon will pass through Earth’s shadow and create a total lunar eclipse that will last for 102 minutes.

The moon during the July 27 lunar eclipse is also a blood moon, and will be the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. If you’re in Eastern Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, the eclipse should be totally visible. It will also be partly visible in West Africa, South America, Europe, and Australia.

Stargazing hopefuls in North America will, unfortunately, not be able to see the lunar eclipse on July 27 in person, but the Virtual Telescope Project will live-stream the event beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

If you can only catch one space event this week, it should be this one.

Wikimedia Images

Mars at Opposition

Mars will be at opposition on July 27 as well — the same day as the total lunar eclipse. This is when Mars and the sun will be on opposite sides of the Earth, which occurs roughly every two years.

Mars will be the brightest it’s been since 2003 for this event. In fact, until September 7, Mars will be the fourth-brightest object in the night sky. But why wait until September when you can see it alongside so many other celestial wonders? You won’t need a telescope to see Mars, but it wouldn’t hurt to use one.


Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower

The Delta Aquarid meteor shower will peak on July 27 and 28. Although the Southern Delta Aquarid meteor shower can be seen from July 12 to August 23, why not check it out when you’re already looking up? On these dates, the meteor shower should be especially epic to behold.


Moon and Saturn Meet

Saturn will appear near the waxing gibbous Moon from Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, July 24 to 25, according to NASA. Maybe it’s not as exhilarating as a lunar eclipse, but Saturn deserves some love too, OK?

There’s a lot going on in the night sky this week, and each of these celestial happenings is definitely worthy of you turning off the lights, putting down your cell phone, and looking up.

It’s D🌝PE SPACE WEEK: July 23-29, 2018, will see a full moon (the “Full Buck Moon”); a total lunar eclipse that will see it turned a bloody color; Mars at opposition, wherein the red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth; and the Delta Aquarid meteor shower. Such a confluence of dope celestial events calls for the first semi-annual Inverse Dope Space Week! Be sure to join our private Dope Space Pics Facebook group to share in the strange wonder of space all year long. And listen to I Need My Space, the Inverse weekly podcast about the weirdness of space.