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'Blood moon' puts on lunar display across parts of Americas, Europe and Africa

UniqueThis 0 May 16

The reddish hue occurs when the sun, Earth and moon align, and the moon passes through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow.

A lunar eclipse early Monday produced a "blood moon," which occurs when the sun, Earth and moon align, and the moon passes through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow.

The event was best seen in the eastern U.S., South America, Africa and Western Europe. Totality, or the moment when the moon was fully obscured, occurred around midnight.

The moon sets in the morning during a partial lunar eclipse behind the dome of the Kunstakedmie in Dresden, Germany on Monday. Robert Michael / AP

The red hue appears because the only sunlight reaching the moon passes through Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA.

“The more dust or clouds in Earth’s atmosphere during the eclipse, the redder the Moon will appear,” the space agency wrote on its website. “It’s as if all the world’s sunrises and sunsets are projected onto the Moon.”

The May full moon is sometimes known as the “flower moon” in traditional folklore because it’s typically at a time of year when spring flowers emerge.

NASA featured livestreams of the eclipse from locations across the globe, including in Alabama, Italy, Spain and New York. Scientists also answered questions on the live feed. From beginning to end, the eclipse lasted just over five hours.

Locals and tourists watch the moon rising by the Temple of Peseidon south of Athens on Sunday.Louisa Gouliamaki / AFP via Getty Images

Social media users enthusiastically posted photos and videos of the moon in their area.

“I just look in wonder on what TREAT the human race had to see,” wrote Margaret Loyd on Twitter.

The "blood moon" over Panama City.Luis Acosta / AFP - Getty Images
Lunar eclipse
A couple look at the moon in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 15, 2022.Matias Delacroix / AP
Image: blood moon, lunar eclipse
The "blood moon" behind a cyclinst in Irwindale, Calif., on Sunday.Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

The next lunar eclipse will occur in November, according to NASA, and be visible in the western U.S., eastern parts of Asia and Japan.

An almost total lunar eclipse occurred in November 2021 that was visible in North America, and parts of South America, Australia and northeastern Asia.

Rachel Elbaum is a London-based editor, producer and writer. 

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