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Liver Bird's night for a moon dance

Heads were turned skywards right across Liverpool at the weekend for the most spectacular lunar eclipse in years – and this Liver Bird got the best view of all.

Published on March 5th 2007.


Liver Bird's night for a moon dance

The first total eclipse of the moon in three years, known as a Blood Moon or a Hunter's Moon, was visible across swathes of the area owing to to crisp weather. In ancient times a blood Moon was viewed with dread and seen as an omen of disaster or great change.

The surface of the full moon first went dark before turning a coppery red, to the delight of thousands who watched the display at its height between 10.44pm and 11.48pm.

Want to know why it happens? Well here's what NASA say: “Our planet casts a long shadow. It starts on the ground - Step outside at night. You're in Earth's shadow. Think about it! - and it stretches almost a million miles into space, far enough to reach the moon.

“Suppose you had a personal spaceship. Here's your mission: Tonight, at midnight, blast off and fly down the middle of Earth's shadow. Keep going until you're about 200,000 miles above Earth, almost to the moon. Now turn around and look down. The view from your window is Earth's night side, the dark half of our planet opposite the sun. But it's not completely dark! All around Earth's limb, the atmosphere glows red.

“What you're seeing is every sunrise and sunset on Earth - all at once, and that same red light plays across the moon when it's inside Earth's shadow.”Right. Science class over.

The weekend event, with its clear skies and no volcanic action, was regarded by astronomers as one of the most memorable in more than 15 years.

Robin Scagell, from the Society for Popular Astronomy, said: "This is one of the best lunar eclipses from Britain for years. "It was fascinating to watch the Moon's graceful movement through the shadow of the Earth and check its coppery glow."

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