Stargazers treated to lunar eclipse


Moon watchers in the western US, Hawaii, Australia and a large part of Asia were treated to a rare total lunar eclipse last night.

For 51 minutes the Earth’s shadow completely blocked the moon yesterday.

In the western US, the moon took on a reddish glow, as some indirect sunlight continued to reach it after passing through the Earth’s atmosphere. Since the atmosphere scatters blue light, only red light strikes the moon, giving it a crimson hue.

The total eclipse was visible throughout Australia, Indonesia, south-east Asia, China, Japan, and a large swathe of Russia east of the Ural Mountains.

In China, stargazers observed the moon from the Planetarium in Beijing and had the best view of a total lunar eclipse in 10 years, according to the China Astronomical Observatory.

In Australia, people watched the eclipse from telescopes at the Sydney Observatory.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon goes through the long shadow cast by the Earth and is blocked from the sunlight that illuminates it.

The last total lunar eclipse was on June 15th although that was not visible from the US. The next one is on April 15th, 2014, and will be seen in the US.