THE BLOOD MOON OVER MHONDORO
What a spectacle it was! Guests were treated to an amazing sighting on the 27th of July 2018, when the longest “blood moon” eclipse this century was clearly visible, along with Mars’ closest approach in 15 years, hovering close to the moon to offer stargazers a thrilling “astronomical double bill”.
Mars, our neighbouring planet was easily visible with the naked eye and appeared unusually large and bright – a mere 57.7 million kilometres from Earth on its elliptical orbit around the sun.
The telescope was set on Mhondoro’s custom-made star gazing deck and our guide Ivan told interesting tales about the night sky and some of the tribal beliefs about the stars. We gathered around with blankets and hot chocolate to keep us warm and cosy, and felt truly privileged to witness this remarkable event here in the wilderness, in the heart of Africa.
WHAT IS A BLOOD MOON?
A “blood moon” is a name given to the moon during a lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the sun and the moon, casting the moon into shadow. Unlike a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the Earth and sun to block the sun’s light, the moon is not “turned dark” during an eclipse, but instead appears to turn red.