Volcano ash turns Asian eclipse blood red

Jun 16, 2011
The Earth completely casts its shadow over the moon in a total lunar eclipse as seen in Manila, Philippines before dawn Thursday June 16, 2011. The total lunar eclipse was also visible in most parts of Asia. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

(AP) -- Asian and African night owls were treated to a lunar eclipse, and ash in the atmosphere from a Chilean volcano turned it blood red for some viewers.

The Sydney Observatory said the eclipse was to begin at 3:25 a.m. Thursday (1:25 p.m. EDT, 5:25 p.m. GMT Wednesday) and last until after 5 a.m.

Scientists said the specific phenomenon happening Thursday - known as a "deep lunar eclipse" - often exudes a coppery color. But the intensity of the color depends on the amount of ash and dust in the .

Luckily for moon-gazers, there was plenty of ash in the air so the appeared orange or red, especially in Asia. Air travelers haven't been so lucky: The has grounded hundreds of flights around the region.

Scientists said the eclipse could be safely observed with the naked eye.

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