Skygazers on June 15 were treated with an event of their lifetime, In what, astronomers term as a spectacular show, the white moon turned blood red as the longest lunar eclipse in a decade unfolded Wednesday night.
The eclipse also found a place in history as according to astronomers, the June 15 eclipse was among the best three in terms of length and totality that took place in the last 100 years in history.
The Herald Sun quoted Martin Bush, curator of Melbourne Planetarium stating that it would be the longest one since 2000 - which was one of the three longest since 1000BC.
Even, Google had partnered with astronomy site, Slooth, to provide live streaming of the event for its North American audience, who were left out in the race as the eclipse ended shortly before 7 p.m EST.
While Australian astronomers have to deal with thick cloud cover and rain in some parts of the country, others had a much clearer view of the show. In Singapore, more than 700 people gathered outside a local science centre to watch, the Straits Times reported.
Indian skywatchers were also witnessed the celestial treat, with crowds gathered at the country’s leading planetarium in the capital New Delhi. Meanwhile, the Nehru planetarium had organized an overnight “moon carnival” to familiarize visitors, setting up special viewing telescopes.
The eclipse lasted 100 minutes and the last eclipse to exceed this duration was in July 2000. The next such eclipse is forecasted to take place only in 2141.
It is also the first lunar eclipse of 2011. If you missed the event.. no issues as more eclipses are set to come this year. Astronomers are expecting four partial solar and two total lunar eclipses this year.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun's rays from striking the moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon.
The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon's location relative to its orbital nodes. The June 15 eclipse was a central eclipse, visible over Europe and south America after sunset, over Africa and most of Asia, and Australia before sunrise. The previous total lunar eclipse occurred on December 21, 2010, at 08:17 UTC.
Watch how the longest lunar eclipse unfolded in the above video.
For rare images of the lunar eclipse, click here