What the first lunar eclipse of 2023 looked like in Asia and Australia

A penumbral lunar eclipse is seen through a cloud during the early hours of Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Beijing (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Stargazers in Asia and Australia had the best seats for the first lunar eclipse of the year.

the eclipse of four hours it began late Friday or early Saturday, depending on location, as the moon crept toward the edges of Earth’s shadow.

lunar eclipse
Ceiling decorations depicting mythical sacred beasts are silhouetted near a penumbral lunar eclipse partially blocked by clouds during the early hours of Saturday (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) (Ng Han Guan/)

In what is known as penumbral Lunar Eclipse, the full moon passed within the outer part of Earth’s shadow, causing the moon to dim slightly. Such an eclipse is not as dramatic as a partial lunar eclipse or a total lunar eclipse when the Moon, Earth, and Sun are perfectly aligned.

The eclipse was visible from start to finish, weather permitting, as far west as Saudi Arabia and the west coast of Africa, as far east as Japan and the South Island of New Zealand, and from the South Pole to Siberia. Almost all of Europe also got in on some of the action.

lunar eclipse
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) (Ng Han Guan/)

The Virtual Telescope Project showed a live feed of the moon rising over the countryside in Tuscany, Italy.

“Even subtle astronomical events like this excite me and I’m happy to share them,” astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, founder of the project, said in an email.

This eclipse is not as spectacular as a total eclipse, in which the face of the Moon is completely darkened. Instead, skygazers should see a dark gray or brown shadow on part of the moon’s face, covering up to 94.6% of the moon at the peak of the eclipse. Thus, this eclipse is what some call a “blood moon” since it will not turn red. Instead, the Moon will darken slightly as it passes through a lighter part of Earth’s shadow, called the penumbra.

The next lunar eclipse in October it will look better.

lunar eclipse
A penumbral lunar eclipse is recorded at IST 22.56 in Kolkata, India, on Friday, May 5, 2023 (AP Photo/Bikas Das) (Bikas Das/)

The eastern parts of the Americas will be able to see at least part of a partial lunar eclipse, when part, but not all, of the moon passes through Earth’s dark central shadow. Asia, Africa and Europe will enjoy the whole show.

A total lunar eclipse is not predicted until 2025 with North America and the western half of South America in front row seats.

(With information from AP)

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