Total lunar eclipse amazes skywatchers

view of total lunar eclipse on June 16, 2011 in Guang'an, Sichuan Province of China.
Getty Images

It was built up as a must-see cosmic event and the show did not disappoint as sky-watchers around the world took in the longest total eclipse in 11 years.

As the moon passed into Earth's shadow, the eclipse went into the record books as just one of four total lunar eclipses that have lasted 100 minutes or longer. (The last time the moon was hidden in the Earth's shadow for this amount of time was in 2000 when a lunar eclipse lasted 107 minutes.

Unfortunately, if you live in the United States or Canada, you were out of luck. Otherwise, this lunar spectacle was visible from start to finish from eastern Africa, central Asia, the Middle East and western Australia. As an added bonus, ash in the atmosphere from a Chilean volcano turned the eclipse blood red for some viewers.

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The intensity of the color depended on the amount of ash and dust in the atmosphere. Luckily for moon-gazers, there was plenty of ash in the air so the moon appeared orange or red, especially in Asia. (Air travelers haven't been so lucky: The ash has grounded hundreds of flights around the region.)

"Awesome! We have a perfect view from our neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel," skywatchers Cecile and Roberta Cohen told Space.com in an email. "We started seeing it at 9 p.m. At 10:20 (give or take a minute) the moon was totally eclipsed. We came indoors shortly thereafter because it's cool out, but we can see the moon from our window. Awesome; just awesome!"

Another total lunar eclipse is expected to take place later this year.