Perfect conditions for lunar eclipse

Wednesday April 16, 2014 Written by Published in Weather
A stunning photo of the blood-red moon taken by local Willie Tuiravakai. 14041526 A stunning photo of the blood-red moon taken by local Willie Tuiravakai. 14041526

Rarotonga’s sky cleared just in time to reveal a stunning lunar eclipse on Monday night.

Those who managed to stay awake were rewarded with a brilliant view of the moon turning blood red as it passed directly into the Earth’s shadow at 9.46pm.

Although the eclipse began when the moon rose at 5.37pm, the full eclipse started at 9.06pm and lasted for 78 minutes.

Many locals witnessed the spectacle and posted photos – some excellent, some less impressive – on Facebook yesterday. 

Andrea Rongokea posted a message to say her kids were “freaking out like it’s the end of the world”.

For a lunar eclipse to take place, there must be a full moon and it must pass through some portion of Earth’s shadow cast by the sun. 

A total eclipse occurs when the entire moon passes through the Earth’s umbral shadow.

At this stage, the moon often turns a deep orange colour - which is why it is referred to as a ‘Blood Moon’ – as indirect sunlight bounces off the Moon and is refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere.

A lunar eclipse occurs three times a year maximum, but not all of those are total eclipses.

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