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Mérida is the best place on Earth to view Wednesday’s total lunar eclipse

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Total lunar eclipse seen over Israel in 2004. Photo: Getty

Anyone in Mérida, Yucatán will have the best view on Earth of tomorrow’s early-morning total lunar eclipse.

As it happens, Mérida will sit directly in the middle of a narrow band ideal for observing the natural phenomena while the moon is setting. 

The lunar eclipse will be visible for 2 and-a-half hours starting at 3:47 a.m. but will reach its maximum at 6:22 a.m.

Total lunar eclipses occur when the moon moves into the shadow of the earth. The phenomenon requires the presence of a full moon as well as a close alignment between the earth and the sun. 

A composite image of the phases of the moon. Photo: Getty

During the brief eclipse maximum, the moon will fall entirely within the umbra of the earth. Just before this, the curved edge of the moon still being hit by direct sunlight will cause the rest of the moon to look comparatively dim. 

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Due to its reddish color, total lunar eclipses are sometimes called blood moons. This happens because the light from the sun is unable to directly reach the surface of the moon, being reflected instead through the atmosphere of the earth.

Eclipses have been observed in Yucatán for thousands of years. The ancient Maya developed a sophisticated understanding of astronomy and stellar phenomena that allowed them to predict both solar and lunar eclipses.

Residents of other cities on the Peninsula including Valladolid and Campeche will also have good views, but those in Cancún and most of Quintana Roo will only observe a partial penumbra.

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