‘Super blood moon’ thrills onlookers with vibrant shade of red

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Washington, Jan 21 (IANS) Stargazers were in for a treat as they enjoyed a rare “super blood moon” as it turned a stunning shade of red.

This year’s only total lunar eclipse generated plenty of buzz, according to the US media.

“Visible for its entirety in North and South America, this eclipse is being referred to by some as a super blood moon – ‘super’ because the moon will be closest to earth in its orbit during the full moon and ‘blood’ because the total lunar eclipse will turn the moon a reddish hue,” US space agency NASA was cited as saying by express.co.uk.

The eclipse will not be visible from India.

During a lunar eclipse, the moon passes through two distinct parts of earth’s shadow. The outer part of the cone-shaped shadow is called the penumbra.

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The penumbra is less dark than the inner part of the shadow because it is penetrated by some sunlight. The inner part of the shadow, known as the umbra, is much darker because earth blocks additional sunlight from entering the umbra.

NASA said that the total lunar eclipse started at 11.41 p.m EST on January 20, with the greatest eclipse occurring at 12.12 a.m EST on January 21. The total eclipse ended at 12.43 a.m EST on January 21.

Unlike solar eclipses, which require special glasses to view and can be seen only for a few minutes in a very limited area, a total lunar eclipse can be seen for about an hour by anyone on the night-time side of earth — as long as skies are clear, NASA said.

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A variety of factors affect the appearance of the moon during a total lunar eclipse. Clouds, dust, ash, photochemical droplets and organic material in the atmosphere can change how much light is refracted into the umbra, it said.

The next total lunar eclipse is slated on May 26, 2021, and will be visible from North and South America, and East Asia.

–IANS

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