Lunar Eclipse of October 27, 2004

November 05, 2004


Provided by: Philippe Moussette
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Philippe Moussette

The above montage of last week's (October 27) total lunar eclipse was captured from the Observatoire de la Découverte in Quebec, Canada. A coppery or deep red color to the eclipsed lunar disk was revealed as the Earth's shadow crept across the Moon's face. The reddish color results from refracted sunlight streaming around the limb of the Earth. Just as sunrises and sunsets are reddened as the Sun's ray must traverse more of the Earth's atmosphere, the extraneous light reaching the Moon during a total lunar eclipse is reddened as well. Eclipses of the Moon, while just as rare as solar eclipses, are sluggish and sedate affairs by comparison. While they won't knock your socks off, they can still be quite engrossing. Besides, almost everyone on the night side of the Earth can see a lunar eclipse (weather permitting), but only a select few (relatively speaking) are fortuitously positioned to observe a solar eclipse. If you missed this one, the next total lunar eclipse similarly visible across eastern North America won't occur until February 2008!

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