Nigeria on Friday joined other countries in Africa , the Middle East , Southern Asia and the Indian Ocean region to witness a total lunar eclipse.
Astronomers said Friday’ s lunar eclipse was the longest in this century , lasting for 103 minutes , and that this running time wouldn ’ t be matched until 2123 .
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth and into its shadow and this can only occur when the Sun , Earth, and the Moon are aligned exactly or very closely so, with the planet in between .
During a total lunar eclipse , the Earth completely blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon and the only light reflected from the lunar surface appears reddish for the same reason that a sunset or sunrise does .
Due to this reddish colour , a totally eclipsed Moon is sometimes called a blood moon .
Unlike a solar eclipse , which can be viewed only from a certain relatively small area of the world , a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of Earth.
According to the National Space Research and Development Agency , the lunar eclipse in Nigeria started around 6 : 44 pm as partial eclipse and developed into a total eclipse around 7 : 30 pm .
In a statement by the agency ’ s head of media and corporate communications , Dr . Felix Ale , the eclipse was expected to reach its peak around 9 : 21 pm and wane from then until it ended around 12 : 30 am of Saturday ( today ) .
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