16 Jun 2011

Lunar eclipse: stargazers witness lunar eclipse 2011 'blood red' moon

Stargazers around the world have been lucky enough to witness a spectacular lunar eclipse, the longest in 11 years, which turned the moon a blood red colour.

The longest lunar eclipse occured on Wednesday 15th June 2011, lasting 100 minutes.

Overnight on Thursday astronomers throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia were treated to the longest lunar eclipse in 11 years and the first of the year.
It was a particularly dark eclipse because the lunar disk passed through the densest central part of our planet's shadow.
Astronomers in Britain missed the early stage of the eclipse because it occurred before moonrise. Sunset occurred in the UK at 9.19pm.

The "totality", which is when the lunar face is completely covered, lasted 100 minutes, which scientists said was the longest since July 2000.
Viewers in the southern Hemisphere, particularly Australia and south-east Asia, were treated to a particularly impressive view due to ash in the atmosphere from a Chilean volcano.
The ash crisis has caused travel chaos in Australia, with hundreds of flights grounded throughout the region. People in America could not see the eclipse.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when Earth casts its shadow over the Moon.
The lunar face can sometimes turn reddish, coppery-brown or orange, tinged by light from the Sun that refracts as it passes through our atmosphere.
The specific phenomenon that occurred on Thursday was known as a "deep lunar eclipse".
But the intensity of the colour depended on the amount of ash and dust in the atmosphere. Scientists said the eclipse could be safely observed with the naked eye.

There will be partial solar eclipses on July 1 and November 25, but the next total solar eclipse will not take place until November 13, 2012.
It will run in a track across North Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and southerly South America.

The lunar eclipse over The Great Wall of China.

Source: The Telegraph

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