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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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A total eclipse of the heart

It was a total eclipse of the heart on Tuesday night with people across the region casting their eyes skyward to witness a spectacular lunar show.
The total lunar eclipse, which was clearly visible in Wairarapa’s dark skies, was captured by locals far and wide.
In Ruakokopuna deep into the proposed Dark Sky Reserve, Under the Stars ran an event tour. Owner and director Chris Murphy captured timelapse footage of the eclipse over the course of three hours.
“It happens in stages, going through partial shadows, you get the distinctive penumbra and umbra shadows cast by the earth.”
He said after an hour the eclipse reached ‘totality’ when the moon was fully within the earth’s shadow, creating the characteristic ‘blood moon.’
“The redness of the ‘blood moon’ is caused by sunlight passing through the atmosphere of earth, filtering and scattering blue light more than red.
“Blue light is a shorter wavelength and scatters more easily than the red of the spectrum.
“So it can be said that the moon is being lit only by sunsets on earth.”
Murphy captured the eclipse through its various shadowed stages, at ‘totality’ and then as it reemerged into direct sunlight becoming fully illuminated again.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration for the United States [Nasa] said Tuesday’s total eclipse would be the last one until March 14, 2025.
It said a total eclipse happened when the sun, earth, and moon aligned so that the moon passed completely into the earth’s shadow.
“In a total lunar eclipse, the entire moon falls within the darkest part of earth’s shadow, called the umbra.”
Nasa said although there would not be another total lunar eclipse for three years, partial and penumbral eclipses would still take place.
However, it warned eclipse enthusiasts would find them much harder to see and capture from earth.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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