We cannot blame you if you slept on the latest partial lunar eclipse.
The sun set at 4:35 pm EST on Thursday, and the bright full moon rose over New York City, creating an almost sunny and warm night. However, storms and plunge temperatures may have discouraged many viewers from rising at 4:03 am, when the eclipse peaked.
But in other parts of the world where the sky is clear, many photographers stay up late to capture the scenery. Their photographs captured the solar eclipse perfectly (well, partially) nicely, with the moon rusty red.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth passes between the moon and the sun. Because the atmosphere acts as a filter for sunlight, the shadows our planet casts on the moon are similar to the light seen at sunset.
This eclipse was unusual because of its length. From start to finish, it lasted more than 6 hours. Other recent lunar eclipses occurred earlier because the moon was closer to Earth in its orbit. However, the orbit of the moon is an elliptical orbit, which is now close to the maximum distance from us, so it took a long time to pass through the shadow of the earth. The last partial solar eclipse of this period occurred in the 1440s.
Another eclipse of this length will not occur for years, but there will be others to enjoy. The total lunar eclipse visible to viewers on the east coast will occur on May 15.
You can sign up for the Times Space and Astronomy Calendar to remind yourself of that and other events. And while you wait, taste some photos of last night’s encounter.