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Eclipse views turn moon into a star

Time-lapse video photography shows the progress of the lunar eclipse toward totality over South Africa.

Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters

The moon looms in partial eclipse, framed by an arch at Rome's ancient Colosseum on Wednesday.

If you're in North America, you may have had no idea that an exceptional lunar eclipse took place this afternoon. But most of the rest of the world got in on the spectacle, and you can, too, after the fact.

This eclipse was notable for several reasons: The moon went right through the center of Earth's shadow, which means the total phase went on for 100 minutes — the longest duration since the year 2000. Also, last week's volcanic eruption in Chile was thought to have put enough sulfur in the air to lend a dusky, coppery color to the moon during totality. The reddish shade certainly didn't disappoint, as you can see in these pictures.

 


Every total lunar eclipse bring the question, "Why does the moon turn red?" And we have the answer: It's because the reddish wavelengths of the sun's blocked light are actually bent around Earth's disk, lending a sunset glow to the eclipsed moon.

 

Phases of the eclipse were visible from wide swaths of Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia as well as the Indian Ocean and South America. Pretty much every major land mass in the world, in fact, except for North America and Greenland. If you're hankering to see a total lunar eclipse with your own eyes, the next opportunity comes on Dec. 10, when the show will be visible from the U.S. West Coast as well as Australia, the Pacific and most of Asia.

Jack Guez / AFP - Getty Images

The moon rises over the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv before a total lunar eclipse.

Marko Drobnjakovic / AP

A partially eclipsed moon rises into the skies over Belgrade, Serbia, on Wednesday.

Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters

A partial lunar eclipse is seen over the village of Zejtun, lit up for its parish church feast of Saint Catherine, in the south of Malta on Wednesday.

Jack Guez / AFP - Getty Images

This sequence of images shows the progress of the lunar eclipse as seen from Tel Aviv.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP

A lunar eclipse is seen through the Atomium monument in Brussels, which was built for a world's fair in 1958.

Bullit Marquez / AP

Earth casts its shadow over the moon during a total lunar eclipse as seen from Manila in the Philippines before dawn Thursday.

Ciro Fusco / EPA

The lunar eclipse looms over the Castel dell Ovo (Egg Castle) in Naples, Italy.

Ahmad Yusni / EPA

Malaysian government officials peer at the eclipsed moon through telescopes in Putrajaya early Thursday,

Tim Winborne / Reuters

A lunar eclipse is visible early Thursday amid cables on the Anzac Bridge in Sydney, Australia.

The lunar eclipse was the longest in more than a decade. TODAY.com's Dara Brown reports.

More about eclipses:


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