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 6:44pm as partial eclipse and developed into a total eclipse around 7:30pm. 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 9:21pm and wane from then until it ended around 12:30am of Saturday (today).