′Blood Moon′ rises over the Pacific ocean | News | DW | 04.04.2015
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'Blood Moon' rises over the Pacific ocean

Sky-watchers from Japan to Hollywood have observed an unusual total eclipse of the moon. The eclipse was unusually brief with the Earth's nearest neighbor tinged red, earning it the name "Blood Moon."

The eclipse - seen in northern Japan, parts of Australia and parts of western North America - lasted about five minutes.

Some 200 people were gathered at an observatory in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo, to jointly observe "nature's great phenomenon," the Japanese observatory officials said.

"We were so thrilled to see the beautiful moon eclipsing and turning red," said Yuko Miura, an official at the city's observatory.

Due to rain and clouds on the east coast in Australia, the eclipse could not be seen at the Sydney Observatory, but sky-watchers further south in Melbourne had a clearer night.

Also in the early morning of Saturday the red-tinged moon was clearly visible across the Los Angeles region.

Rare and rarer

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the moon and the sun, creating a shadow. This doesn't happen every time the moon makes its monthly trek around Earth because the orbit is tilted and usually keeps the moon out of Earth's shadow.

Total lunar eclipses are even more rare. They happen only during a full moon, and only when the sun, Earth, and moon are lined up so that Earth's shadow completely covers the moon's disk. The totality phase is the most spectacular part of the eclipse.

The "Blood Moon" occurred on April 4, 2015 is the third of four lunar eclipses over the course of two years. Other eclipses were those of April 15, 2014, October, 8, 2014 and the next one will be on September 28, 2015.

Last month a solar eclipse was visible across northern Africa, most of Europe and the Middle East.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse are safe to watch without any eye protection or special precautions.

ra/rc (AFP, dpa)

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