Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Total Lunar Eclipse this Friday Night in Israel

While news from the sky may have been eclipsed by political developments, Israelis should be over the moon to learn that on Friday, from 8:14 PM in the evening until 2:28 a.m. on Shabbat morning, they will be able to view a total lunar eclipse.

ABC News reported on Monday that this will be the lengthiest total lunar eclipse during this century, and it will make the moon appear to be red-orange in color – a “blood moon.”

It will be visible from the Middle East, various areas in Asia and Africa, and India, but will not be seen from the United States.

In a total lunar eclipse, the Earth casts a shadow over the entire moon.

Another total lunar eclipse was visible from Israel this past January.

Time and Date AS, a Norwegian company that runs a popular website listing time zones and time-related events, wrote that the total eclipse – where the moon is “completely red” – will begin in Jerusalem at 10:30 p.m., and the maximum eclipse, where “[the] moon is closest to the center of the shadow [cast by the Earth]” begins at 11:21 p.m.

Some groups are using the cosmic event to run programming billed as being out-of-this-world.

Bateva, a guiding center based in Mitzpe Ramon near the Ramon Crater, is hosting “The Moon in Love” event, which ties the blood moon to the romantic Jewish holiday of Tu B’Av (15th of Av), which takes place the previous evening. The event will feature observatories, live music, and camping areas.

In a statement on Bateva’s website, tour guide and observatory owner Nadav Silbert said: “No child or adult should miss this rare sight, taking place just once every few decades, at this perfect ideal place… This is a wonderful opportunity to experience the desert around Mitzpe Ramon in all its glory, view the wonders of creation and understand why the Machtesh [crater] was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

The fact that the eclipse is viewable from Israel didn’t escape the orbit of the astrology-minded on Twitter.

A search for ‘eclipse Israel’ on Twitter shows that while some are simply treating the event as a sky-high experience, others think it portends tension and trouble for Israel.

“The longest ‘blood moon’ lunar #eclipse of the century will be on Friday and directly visible over Israel the entire time."

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