Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

'Blood moon' eclipse in Americas

The Earth's shadow is cast over the surface of the Moon as a total lunar eclipse is seen through a Magnolia tree top in the sky over Tyler, Texas (AP/Dr Scott M Lieberman)
The Earth's shadow is cast over the surface of the Moon as a total lunar eclipse is seen through a Magnolia tree top in the sky over Tyler, Texas (AP/Dr Scott M Lieberman)
The Earth's shadow cast over the surface of the Moon over the Chabot Space and Science Centre observatory in Oakland, California (AP)

Sky-gazers in North and South America were treated to a full lunar eclipse - at least those fortunate enough to have clear skies.

The Moon was eclipsed by the Earth's shadow early today, beginning at around 1am EDT (0500 GMT) for five-and-a-half hours. The total phase of the eclipse lasted just 78 minutes.

For some, the Moon appeared red-orange because of all the sunsets and sunrises shimmering from Earth, thus the name "blood moon".

It is the first of four eclipses this year and the first of four total lunar eclipses this year and next, while a solar eclipse is also due in two weeks.

Nasa's moon-orbiting spacecraft, LADEE, survived the eclipse. Scientists had feared LADEE might freeze up in the cold darkness.

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