Here's the Blood Moon You Missed

3 more total lunar eclipses are coming
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2014 7:37 AM CDT
Updated Apr 15, 2014 7:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – 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.

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  • 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.
(Read more blood moon stories.)

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