Lunar eclipse over Cerro Paranal (photo)

The European Southern Observatory published a photo taken on the night of January 20-21, 2019, at the top of the Chilean Cerro Paranal mountain. It shows a total lunar eclipse.

Total lunar eclipse over Cerro Paranal Mountain. Source: ESO/J. C. Muñoz-Mateos

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon of our planet enters the earth’s shadow. At this moment, its disk turns dark red. This effect is explained by the fact that the moon is still illuminated by the sun’s rays passing tangentially to the earth’s surface. They dissipate in the Earth’s atmosphere and due to this scattering partially reach the Moon. And since the earth’s atmosphere is most transparent to the rays of the red-orange part of the spectrum, it is these rays that mainly reach the Moon, changing the color of its disk.

The presented image of the eclipse was taken with a three-hour exposure. Because of this, instead of individual stars, we see tracks: tracks corresponding to their apparent movement across the celestial sphere.

As for the Moon, it corresponds to the brightest track, which has a characteristic “dumbbell-like” shape. This was due to the fact that during the shooting, the lunar disk completely disappeared into the earth’s shadow (the characteristic red line in the middle corresponds to this stage), and then assumed its usual appearance.

According to

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