Pic­ture per­fect ce­les­tial sight

Sunday Tasmanian - - NEWS - CHANEL KINNIBURGH

WHILE ev­ery­one else was likely sleep­ing, Tas­ma­nian astronomer Shevill Mathers stayed up wait­ing to cap­ture the per­fect pic­ture of the long­est “blood moon” eclipse of the cen­tury.

The moon started turn­ing red about 4.30am yes­ter­day be­fore the sun, Earth and moon aligned dur­ing a to­tal eclipse for one hour and 43 min­utes from 5.25am.

Mr Mathers told the Sun­day Tas­ma­nian he did not ex­pect the lengthy ce­les­tial spec­ta­cle to hap­pen again for some years.

“Last night’s eclipse went for so long that I was able to sit, watch and en­joy it, as well as photograph it,” he said.

“We had a par­tial so­lar eclipse this month and now we’ve had the long­est-last­ing to­tal lu­nar eclipse of the cen­tury. It’s been an ab­so­lute astronomer’s smor­gas­bord.

“Each one is dif­fer­ent and the colour can change de­pend­ing on where you are in the world and the atmosphere but we had an ex­cel­lent view here in Tas­ma­nia.”

A to­tal lu­nar eclipse takes place when the Earth comes di­rectly be­tween the sun and moon, cast­ing a red­dish-or­ange shadow on the sur­face of the moon.

The rosy colour is why a to­tal lu­nar eclipse is of­ten re­ferred to as a “blood moon”.

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