Ararat stargazers see red over lunar eclipse

ARARAT - Stargazers wouldn't have been exactly 'over the moon' with last week's total lunar eclipse.

Residents had only a short window of between 6pm and 7pm last Tuesday night to view the phenomenon that results in the colour of the moon to be turned red.

Unfortunately for most people across our region the moon appeared void of any red and was at times obscured by heavy cloud.

Astronomers had advised people to look low on the horizon and to the east to see the the moon's orangey-red appearance which is brought about by the perfect alignment of the sun, the Earth and the moon.

The shade of red that the moon turns cannot be forecast, and is largely dependent on the amount of dust circulating in Earth's atmosphere at the time of the eclipse.

Unlike solar eclipses, the lunar eclipse/blood moon is perfectly safe for humans to view and to photograph.

The frequency of total lunar eclipses varies from one every few years to up to five in a year.

Last Tuesday's total lunar eclipse was the first in more than two years, and was made all the more rare because it was visible above the entire Western Hemisphere.

If you happened to be clouded out or looking in the wrong direction for this month's eclipse, don't despair. Tuesday night's eclipse was the first in a series of four.

Subsequent eclipses will occur on October 8 this year and April 8 and September 28 next year.

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