I got home tonight just in time to catch the full lunar eclipse. Although my crappy dinosaur of a camera doesn’t really do it justice, it was quite stunning here in Oxford. Observers across Europe, Africa, and East Asia had an excellent view of the eclipse tonight, and some viewers in the U.S. might just catch the end as the moon rises and sun sets this evening.
As the Earth passes directly between the sun and the moon (an event that only happens once every couple of years), the moon is almost completely obscured from the sun’s light, except for a few rays refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere. As the shorter wavelengths of light tend to be filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere, only red light makes it through to be reflected off of the moon, giving it the blood red hue observed tonight.