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Sky-Watchers Relish Total Lunar Eclipse

Moon-lovers revel in 'orangy-red' color
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 11, 2011 11:26 AM CST

(Newser) – Moon watchers in the western US, Hawaii, and elsewhere across the globe were treated yesterday to a rare celestial phenomenon: a total lunar eclipse. For 51 minutes starting at 6:06 a.m. PST, the Earth's shadow completely blocked the moon. The moon took on a reddish glow, as some indirect sunlight continued to reach it after passing through the Earth's atmosphere. Since the atmosphere scatters blue light, only red light strikes the moon, giving it a crimson hue.

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At the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, some 300 people, many clutching coffee cups in the frigid morning air, sat with blankets and chairs on the observatory's great lawn. "It's a celestial festival out here," one sky-watcher said as he set up his camera. The owner of a PR firm in Hawaii said the cloudy weather cleared just in time for the eclipse: "Sure enough it was turning that orangy-red color," said a man living in Hawaii. "To be able to see it just right outside our house was really cool." (Read more lunar eclipse stories.)

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