Miss Friday's lunar eclipse? Here is what it looked like.

If you slept during the last partial lunar eclipse, we can’t blame you. The sun set at 4:35 p.m. EST on Thursday, and a bright full moo...

If you slept during the last partial lunar eclipse, we can’t blame you.

The sun set at 4:35 p.m. EST on Thursday, and a bright full moon rose over New York City in a generally clear sky and a warm night. But a storm and plunging temperatures may have discouraged many viewers from getting up at 4:03 a.m., when the eclipse reached its peak.

In other parts of the world, where the skies have remained clear, however, many photographers have stayed awake late to capture the view. Their images captured the eclipse in all its glory – well, partial -, with the moon tinted a rusty red.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes between the moon and the sun. The atmosphere acts as a filter on sunlight, so the shadow our planet casts on the moon resembles the light seen at sunset.

This eclipse was unusual because of its length; from start to finish, it lasted over six hours. Other recent lunar eclipses have happened faster because the moon was closer to Earth in its orbit. But the moon’s orbit is elliptical, and currently it is near its maximum distance from us, so it took longer to pass through the Earth’s shadow. The last a partial eclipse of this duration occurred in the 1440s.

Another eclipse of this duration won’t happen for many years to come, but there will be more to enjoy. A total lunar eclipse, visible to viewers on the east coast, will occur on May 15.

You can sign up for The Times’ Space and Astronomical Calendar for a reminder of this and other events. And in the meantime, savor some images from last night’s meeting.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Miss Friday's lunar eclipse? Here is what it looked like.
Miss Friday's lunar eclipse? Here is what it looked like.
Newsrust - US Top News
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