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Under a blood red moon

The Earth casts its shadow on the moon, causing the moon to dim and turn red at about 12:30 a.m. this morning. - Andrew Leong
The Earth casts its shadow on the moon, causing the moon to dim and turn red at about 12:30 a.m. this morning.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Cowichan — and Canadians from coast to coast — were treated to a rare blood moon this week.

An unusual eclipse, known as a blood-red moon eclipse, occurred at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday when our view of the moon was completely covered by the Earth’s shadow.

“The appearance is caused by the light from the sun being refracted by Earth’s atmosphere, similar to what happens at sunrise or sunset,” reads the description from Vancouver’s H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.

Vivid descriptions aside, the “blood red” actually seemed more coppery in colour.

The eclipse kicked off a four-part eclipse series known as a lunar tetrad, says the Space Centre.

“It means it is one of four successive total lunar eclipses in a row without a partial eclipse in between, each of which is separated by six full moons.”

The next eclipses will be: Oct. 8, 2014; April 4, 2015; and Sept. 28, 2015.

Also occurring throughout April is the “opposition” of Mars, meaning the red planet will have its closest approach to Earth in 26 months — with the two planets only 92 million kilometres apart.

This happens every two years, when the Earth passes between Mars and the sun.

— Kolby Solinsky

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