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Brief Eclipse Dazzles Skywatchers

The Blood Moon, created by the full moon passing into the shadow of the earth during a total lunar eclipse, as seen from Monterey Park, Calif.

Early risers (very early on the U.S. West Coast) who had clear skies might have caught a view of today's lunar eclipse — the third in a cycle of four that had its premiere nearly a year ago.

Those of us on the East Coast (this writer included) got to see a partial eclipse before the moon set in the west.

For those farther west, totality (when the moon is completely in the Earth's shadow) lasted only 5 minutes, making the eclipse an unusually brief one. This is owing to the fact that our nearest neighbor only skimmed the upper part of the Earth's shadow instead of falling squarely in the middle of it.

As we explained on Friday, if you missed this one, there's a closing act in the lunar eclipse tetrad on Sept. 28.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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