‘Blood moon’ awes sky watchers

A total lunar eclipse has been visible across much of the Americas and Asia, resulting in red-tinted moon.

The red hue of the moon results from sunlight scattering off Earth's atmosphere [AFP]

Stargazers in the Americas and Asia were treated to a lunar eclipse on Wednesday, a cosmic show that bathed the moon in a reddish tint to create a “blood moon”.

During the total lunar eclipse, the moon turned orange or red. The colour shade results from sunlight scattering off Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA provided live footage via telescope of the eclipse, showing a black shadow creeping across the moon in a crawl that took about an hour.

Only when the moon was totally eclipsed did the redness appear. The total eclipse lasted about an hour before the moon returned to its normal colour.

Ring of fire

A NASA commentator explained that during the total eclipse, if one was standing on the moon and looking at the earth, a person would see it all black, with ring of fire around it.

In Hong Kong, free viewing locations were set up on a harbour-side promenade by the Hong Kong Space Museum for the public to observe the various phases on telescopes.

In Tokyo’s Roppongi fashion and entertainment district, enthusiasts performed yoga exercises under the blood moon. Many others had climbed atop the city’s skyscrapers to view the sky.

However, on Australia’s east coast, a live video feed set up by the Sydney Observatory was hit by cloud cover, thwarting some viewers.

The event was not visible in Africa or Europe, NASA said.

The eclipse is the second of four total lunar eclipses, which started with a first “blood moon” on April 15, in a series which astronomers call a tetrad. The next two total lunar eclipses will be on April 4 and September 28 next year. 

Source: AFP