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Total Lunar Eclipse Creates 'Blood Moon', Astonishing Skygazers [PHOTOS]

Apr 15, 2014 10:13 AM EDT
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The first total lunar eclipse of the year occurred early Tuesday, treating skywatchers across the Americas to an amazing spectacle: the Earth's shadow falling across the moon, casting it in an eerie orange hue.

The so-called "blood moon" lasted about 3.5 hours between late Monday and early Tuesday, depending on where it was viewed from, with the peak of the eclipse occurring around 3 a.m. EST.

Depending on the amount of volcanic ash and aerosols floating in the atmosphere from the eclipse-viewer's perspective, the moon would have appeared red, orange or brown, according to Reuters

Nader Afsordeh, a photographer based in Little Rock, Ark., told Nature World News he stayed up until 3:30 a.m. to view the eclipse. From his vantage point, Afsordeh said the moon appeared "orangy brown."

"I didn't get the crazy blood orange that I see on Facebook posts," he said, noting that the photo-editing process can be used to bring out the colors of the blood moon.

The total eclipse was visible across all of North America including Alaska and Hawaii, and most of South America. A partial eclipse was visible in parts of East Asia, Oceania and West Africa.

Local weather conditions dictated peoples' ability to view the eclipse, with many skywatchers on the US East Coast getting their view obstructed by cloud cover. A rainy night in cities including Atlanta and Seattle kept the eclipse from being observed, Reuters reported.

The lunar eclipse was the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in what's known as a "tetrad" taking place between April 2014 and September 2015, according to NASA

The next total lunar eclipse will occur Oct. 8, 2014, another occurs in about a year on April 4, 2015, and the last of the tetrad happens on Sept. 28 2015.

"The most unique thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad is that all of them are visible for all or parts of the USA," said NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak.

A combination photo shows the moon during a total lunar eclipse as seen from Mexico City April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
The moon is shown in eclipse in Brasilia April 15, 2014. REUTERS / Ueslei Marcelino
The partial lunar eclipse is seen atop an antenna installed on the roof of a high-rise building in Tokyo April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato
The moon is seen at the start of a total lunar eclipse over Buenos Aires April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

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