The first of four lunar eclipses to take place in 2014 through 2015 occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning, turning the celestial body a rusty color.
For North and South America, it was the first eclipse of the year. NASA says two lunar and two solar eclipses will occur this year.
Tuesday’s so-called “blood moon” was the result of the moon being eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow in an event that lasted 78 minutes. In the eclipse, the Earth, sun and moon perfectly align.
Here are images of the stunning event:
Watch this video of the eclipse:
Why the red color? According to Earth Sky, the moon will always go a rusty color red during a total lunar eclipse because Earth’s sunrises and sunsets will cast light on the moon when it reaches the middle of the phase.
While some say the origins of the term “blood moon” is due to the color, others, like Christian pastor John Hagee, author of “Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change,” bill it as a religious sign as well. In his book, Hagee cites other times in history that such lunar events have been tied to significant religious experiences.
The other eclipses that are part of this lunar tetrad will occur on Oct. 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and Sept. 28, 2015. The United States, unfortunately, will not see the whole phase of a total lunar eclipse again until 2019.