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The Blood Moon

On August the 29th, Australia was treated to a blood moon. This is the name given to a total lunar eclipse because the moon looks like it turns red.

It lasted about 2.5 hrs and had loads of people looking to the moon and howling. We camped out in our street to watch the eclipse and take photos. Here's some pics of us and our friend Lizzy.

A lunar eclipse is when the Earth, sun and moon are all in a straight line with the Earth in the middle. Basically, the Earth blocks the sun's rays from hitting the moon. The moon will be in the Earth's inner shadow (the umbra). The outer shadow is called the 'penumbra'.

A partial eclipse is where only a bit of the moon is shaded by the umbra and the rest the penumbra. When the moon moves through the penumbra (outer shadow) it's very difficult to notice anything different.

The 'blood' comes from the moon getting a red colour during the eclipse. This is because light is made up of lots of colours which all have different 'wave lengths'. Colours with shorter wave lengths spread out a lot more and are absorbed into our has a short wavelength which is why the sky is blue. Red has a long wavelength and so doesn't scatter in our atmosphere but shoots out into space where it hits the moon and makes it look red.

A lunar eclipse happens twice a year somewhere in the world.

Astronomers are saying that it's getting harder to see the nice red colour of the eclipse because of all the lights we have switched on around the world (see our story on Light Pollution in 'Previous Articles').

Next exciting event in Sydney will be a Total Eclipse of the Sun on 22 July 2028

Information sourced from: 'To catch the red moon, head west' R. Macey, 28.8.07

Eclipse sequence: Mr. Erick Guerrero (from Flickr)