In pictures: Partial lunar eclipse has stargazers seeing red
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Stargazers from the UK to Australia saw red during Tuesday’s lunar eclipse that coincided with the 50th anniversary of the US Apollo 11 mission.
On Tuesday, the moon itself paid homage to man’s first steps on its chalky surface exactly 50 years ago with an eclipse path that, ironically, touched every continent on Earth except for North America.
The rare “Half-Blood Thunder Moon” eclipse was a sight to behold: 65 percent of the Moon’s face was bathed in red, courtesy of the refracted light more commonly known for colouring the sunset.
The remaining third was a shadowy version of its usual milky hue, tipping off viewers that they were only witnessing a partial eclipse.
Good things come in twos
A full lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the Moon and the Sun, blocking the Sun’s light from illuminating the Moon as it normally does. This astronomical wonder is only possible when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are perfectly aligned.
Unlike solar eclipses which occur only during a new moon lunar eclipses appear with a full moon. Solar and lunar eclipses thus tend to occur in pairs, spaced about two weeks apart to match the lunar calendar.