Didn't stay up until the wee hours to catch today's blood moon? No problem. Enjoy our photo gallery, then come back for some facts about the total lunar eclipse:
- It was the first of a "tetrad," four such complete eclipses we'll see this year and next, Time reports. The next three: October 8 of this year, and April 4 and September 28 next year. Our last tetrad happened in 2003 and 2004, and the next won't arrive until 2032 and 2033.
- Subtle darkening started at 12:54am ET, as the moon started passing through the Earth's shadow and the shadow started covering the moon. The full shadow was in place by 1:58am and "totality," the time during which the moon was in complete shadow, lasted less than 90 minutes. The shadow had completely passed over the moon by 6:37am.
- Why does the moon take on an eerie shade of crimson during these events? The ancient Maya blamed the color on a cosmic jaguar that swallowed the moon; the ancient Chinese believed it was a three-legged toad that swallowed it. The real answer, of course, is much more scientific and has to do with the moon "reflect[ing] sunrises and sunsets happening around the world," LiveScience reports. Red light from the sun has the easiest time penetrating the Earth's atmosphere and illuminating the moon.
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