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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 06/04/2012

Partial lunar eclipse in the Pacific: a bite out of the moon (PHOTOS)

A partial lunar eclipse is seen through the Sapporo TV Tower in Sapporo, northern Japan. (AP)
Early this morning along the West Coast (and after sunset in Asia), the southern part of the full “Strawberry moon” passed before the northern part of Earth’s shadow. The result? The first (partial) lunar eclipse of 2012.

The eclipse veiled 37% of the moon’s surface.

Along the West Coast, the eclipse began at 3 a.m., peaked 4:04 a.m., and ended at 5:06 a.m. (source: NASA).

“The eclipsed moon, hanging low in the west at daybreak on June 4th, will seem extra-large to U.S. observers east of the Mississippi,” said NASA (see video).

The eclipse wasn’t visible for the mid-Atlantic and Northeast as the moon had already set.

Much of the East Coast also missed out on the annular “ring of fire” solar eclipse two weeks ago for the same reason.

The annular solar eclipse as viewed at the Pahranagat National Wildlife Reserve, which is about 120 miles north of Las Vegas at 6:30 p.m. (local time) on May 20. By Pat Hines of Arlington, Va. (courtesy Linda Fritts). notes lunar eclipses always precede or follow solar eclipse within two weeks:

The moon travels halfway in its orbit around Earth in that time, forming another straight line with our planet and the sun. (In solar eclipses, the moon blots out the sun, while lunar eclipses occur when Earth’s shadow covers all or part of the moon.)

Here are two more photos of today’s lunar eclipse from Japan and Asia....
A partial lunar eclipse is seen in the sky over Ishinomaki, northeastern Japan, Monday, June 4, 2012. (AP - AP)

The moon is 37 per cent obscured by the Earth's shadow during the partial lunar eclipse above Sydney on June 4, 2012. (TORSTEN BLACKWOOD - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

By  |  10:30 AM ET, 06/04/2012

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