The West Coast has seen something very spectacular in the early hours of this Saturday’s morning. In what is the first one of two lunar eclipses visible in the U.S. this year, this one is considered special by NASA. The total lunar eclipse was completely visible in the western third of the United States. Citizens in the rest of the U.S. may not be so lucky, as only a partial eclipse will occur in those areas.
This lunar eclipse, which was expected to last only 5 minutes will be the shortest lunar eclipse of the present century. In the west, citizens were able to view the eclipse from 4.58 AM Pacific Time onwards. Citizens in the east were able to view the eclipse from 6:15 AM onwards.
The eclipse was total because currently, the moon was full over western parts of the U.S. During the eclipse, the full moon fell completely in the Earth’s shadow caused by Sunlight. However, the most spectacular sight about this lunar eclipse is that it was glowing fully like a red ball in the sky, giving a surreal feel to the eclipse.
This red glow happens because of the scattering of sun’s light through Earth’s atmosphere. As you may know that the sun’s light is essentially white light, which is made up of several colors, commonly known collectively as, ‘VIBGYOR’ colors. In this spectrum, the ‘red’ light has the longest wavelength and consequently survives the Earth’s atmosphere far longer as compared to other lights. While the other lights get scattered in the atmosphere due to shorter wavelengths, the ‘red’ light with a longer wavelength is able to survive for longer distances. That’s why by the time the light falls on the moon, only ‘red’ light remains, and which gives it a distinctive red glow. Because of this property, this lunar eclipse is nicknamed as ‘blood moon’ eclipse.
The second lunar eclipse of the two eclipses mentioned above will happen on September 28, later this year.
Here is the video of Blood Moon caught by NASA: