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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 06/15/2011

Longest lunar eclipse in eleven years to elude North America

Aligning his camera on the same star for nine successive exposures, Sky & Telescope contributing photographer Akira Fujii captured this record of the Moon’s progress deadcenter through the Earth’s shadow in July 2000. (COURTESY AKIRA FUJII AND SKY & T)
As the full moon passes through the Earth’s shadow later today over a course of 100 minutes, sky-watchers in most continents will watch its glow transform to fiery shades of orange and red. But across North America, the eclipse won’t yet be visible and, by tonight, an ordinary “strawberry” full moon will shine in the sky.

The darkest part of the eclipse will occur at 4:12 p.m. ET - still daylight in North America. But most Europeans will be able to view the eclipse as the sun will be setting at that time.

The extended length of the eclipse - the longest since 2000 - results from the moon’s current path which will pass almost directly through the center of the Earth’s shadow (where it’s widest) according to National Geographic.

The appearance of eclipse may be altered by the volcano in Chile, spewing sulfur dioxidie into the atmosphere.

“Particles in the southern stratosphere could cause a darkening of the southern part of the Moon during totality,” University of Colorado atmospheric scientist Richard Keen told SpaceWeather.com.

For North Americans who don’t want to miss it, WJLA reports two websites will air it live:

The eclipse will be broadcast live at these two sites: Norway’s Astro Viten and Astronomy Live. Tune in at 1:24 p.m. EDT for the beginning or wait until around 4 p.m. for the full umbral.

UPDATE: You can also watch it live here at WashingtonPost.com’s BlogPost blog between 2 and 6 p.m. ET.

By  |  12:45 PM ET, 06/15/2011

Categories:  Astronomy, Latest

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