How the Space Community Celebrated the 2021 Lunar Eclipse
Space communities across Australia and New Zealand were treated with a rare astronomical event – the Moon being eclipsed in the closest point of its orbit. Here's how the 2021 Lunar Eclipse was captured from across the region.
Leading up to most astronomical events, you’ll notice that astronomers and skywatchers all commence a ritual of asking omnipotent beings (in one form or another) to ensure no clouds are present to block the view of some of the wonderful celestial phenomena that we are lucky enough to see.
Such was the case last week when Australia and New Zealand were in prime position to catch a total lunar eclipse, whilst the Moon was at its closest point in its orbit. This was a rare event – not that an eclipse was occurring but rather that it was happening at the same time the Moon was at perigee – the closest point to Earth along its travels.
Lunar eclipses occur when the Moon’s orbital trajectory moves it into the path of the Earth’s shadow. At first, the Earth’s curvature is thrown upon the Moon, as it slowly looks like it becomes consumed by the darkness – but then, it starts to be coloured with red and orange hues.
This is the result of Earth’s atmosphere acting like a giant refractor lens and bending the starlight emitted by the Sun inwards, with the red light of the spectrum projected onto the lunar face. A similar process occurs when we experience red sunrises and sunsets on Earth.
The Australian and New Zealand space communities got very excited about the event and shared their images through Twitter and Instagram with us. Here’s a sample of a few of them, but if you really want to see the full range, check out the #SpaceAusMoon hashtag on Twitter.