Red Moon Over Reykjavík

Vala Hafstað

A partial lunar eclipse was visible from Iceland Friday morning.  It started at 7:19 am and reached a peak at 9:03, when the Earth’s shadow covered 97 percent of the Moon.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth moves between the Sun and the Moon, and the three are aligned in a straight line.

Morgunblaðið photographer Kristinn Magnússon caught a picture of the rare event. The reason for the reddish hue, or so-called “blood moon,” is that the only sunlight that reaches the moon passes through the Earth’s atmosphere on its way there. The phenomenon is called Rayleigh scattering.

According to stjornufraedi.is, Friday’s lunar eclipse lasted an unusually long time because the Moon was almost as far away from the Earth as it ever gets, or nearly 405,000 km away. The farther it is away from the Earth, the slower it revolves around the Earth and, therefore, the slower it travels through the Earth’s shadow.

For more information about a lunar eclipse, see here.

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