Astronomers in the Philippines observed the longest and darkest lunar eclipse of the 21st century to form the final stage of the Jan. 19 eclipse visible to people in North and South America, Africa, Europe and much of Asia and Australia.
The eclipse, which began at 4:15 a.m. EST on Jan. 19 and ended at 11:44 p.m. EST on Jan. 20, lit up the moon for more than an hour, causing it to take on an eerie reddish-orange color as it moved across the solar system and dipped to near totality in the northeastern night sky.
The total lunar eclipse takes place during the first month of the new year. Because the moon is closer to the Earth than any other month of the year, the moon can undergo a shorter full moon cycle, resulting in a shorter total lunar eclipse.
Observers along the West Coast of the United States would not have seen much of the eclipse, which began at 3:22 a.m. PST Jan. 19.
According to NASA, totality extended for more than an hour and hit its peak at 9:32 p.m. PST Jan. 19 when the moon disappeared completely from the sky. People who witnessed totality, either at an observatory or a total eclipse viewing party, were greeted with an eerie glow as the moon appeared to merge into the glowing orb of the sun, much like a full moon just out of its prime.
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