The eclipse's totality, when the moon passes through Earth's shadow, will last for 1 hour, 43 minutes, the longest for a lunar eclipse this century. The eclipse will be visible in parts of South America, much of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
The total eclipse will last 1 hour, 42 minutes and 57 seconds, with a partial eclipse before and after.
In a special treat, Mars is in opposition on Friday - meaning the planet and the sun will be on exact opposite sides of the Earth and will shine its best. The vast majority of people on the Earth will be able to see this stellar show, which co-incides with Mars' closest approach to the Earth in over a decade.
During an eclipse, most of the light from the Sun is blocked by the Earth as the moon travels through the Earth's shadow. Some sunlight still reaches the moon, refracted by the Earth's atmosphere, however, illuminating it with an ashen to dark red glow, the colour depending on atmospheric conditions.
"The moon is not always in flawless alignment with the sun and the Earth, so that is why we do not get a lunar eclipse every lunar cycle", Brad Tucker, an astronomer with the Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, said in a statement. But the bending (refraction) of the rays of light caused by our atmosphere makes it feasible to see both the eclipsed Moon and the Sun at the same time - so long as you are in the right place. One might think this to be impossible - because an eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are in a straight line, and so if the Moon is above the horizon then the Sun must surely be below it. This is why the astronomical event is often called a "blood moon".
The best vantage point to watch the blood moon will be anywhere with an unobstructed view to the west. In Invercargill there is five minutes between sunrise at 8:12 and moonset shortly thereafter, with the Moon entirely within Earth's shadow. Mars will shine brighter than it has in 15 years.
Fearing the jaguar would come down to earth to continue its assault, people would throw spears at the moon and create noise to scare it away.
At the same time, Mars will hover near the moon in the night sky, easily visible with the naked eye. I'd say this is a once in a blood moon event, but tonight is literally a blue moon, so it looks like nature has a sense of humour.
"Despite its glorious girth, northern observers will pay a price during this juicy Mars apparition", Sky & Telescope contributing editor Bob King said.