In pictures: Partial lunar eclipse has stargazers seeing red

Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters | A partial lunar eclipse is seen in Berlin, Germany, July 16, 2019.

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.

Bay Ismoyo / AFP | The moon is seen in full shape before a lunar eclipse in the sky of Jakarta, on July 17, 2019.

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.

Michael Kappeler / AFP | The moon is seen during a partial lunar eclipse in Baden-Baden, Germany, on July 16, 2019.

The remaining third was a shadowy version of its usual milky hue, tipping off viewers that they were only witnessing a partial eclipse.

Said Khatib / AFP | The moon is seen during a lunar eclipse above the town of Rafah on the southern Gaza Strip, on July 17, 2019.

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.

The most recent solar eclipse passed over South America on July 2. According to NASA, the next lunar eclipse is expected on January 10, 2020.

Manuel Silvestri / Reuters | The moon is seen during a partial lunar eclipse over the Winged Lion of Venice at the St. Mark square in Venice, Italy July 16, 2019.

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