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AURORA BONUS: Early Tuesday, while waiting for the lunar eclipse to begin, sky watchers from Alaska to the Hudson Bay were surprised by a bright display of green auroras. To view their photos, please try our new and experimental world image map. Click on the green pushpins for auroras.
DARK LUNAR ECLIPSE: This morning, Earth's shadow fell across the full Moon producing a remarkably dark and coppery lunar eclipse. The Moon was so dark, in fact, it was possible to photograph very faint stars in its vicinity. Anthony Arrigo of Park City, Utah, took this picture of the Moon beside the 8th magnitude star TYC 5807-1036-1:
Interactive Eclipse Map
"As I was taking pictures of the eclipse," he says, "I noticed a little pimple on the edge of the Moon. I snapped another shot and sure enough, a star had just come out. Sweet!"
One of the highlights of the eclipse was the turquoise flash witnessed by many onlookers. While the core of Earth's shadow is sunset-red, accounting for the red color of the Moon at totality, the circumference of the shadow is light-blue. Eclipse researcher Dr. Richard Keen of the University of Colorado explains:
"Most of the light illuminating the Moon passes through the stratosphere, and is reddened by scattering. However, light passing through the upper stratosphere penetrates the ozone layer, which absorbs red light and actually makes the passing light ray bluer!" This can be seen, he says, as a blue fringe around the red core of Earth's shadow.
In Brisbane, Australia, Dr. Shinn Yeung photographed the fringe using a Canon 20D set at ISO 200:
more turquoise: from Michel Hersen of Portland, Oregon; from Jimmy Westlake of Stagecoach, Colorado; from Brian Karczewski of Hemet, California; from Zach Wagner of San Ramon, California; from Stan Richard of suburban Des Moines, IA; from Craig Sullivan of Clinton, WA - Whidbey Island;
Lunar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[Night-sky Cameras] [Dreamy Lunar Eclipse]