Lunar eclipse delivered a particularly strange, beautiful start to the day. Here’s why.

Let’s start this out with a quote: “When the sun rose in the east, and the moon followed it, it brought forth a very strange light.” So begins William Unsworth’s poem “Corona,” a description of a very strange sunrise in the southern hemisphere near the end of February, early March, which brought dozens of eclipses to strange ends.

“This was truly the longest eclipse in seven years,” according to Todd Sawtelle, a senior scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He explained that the phase of the moon, which was at its highest point, known as the full phase, helped block out sunlight and that the sun’s brightness remained relatively low throughout the eclipse. “All it needed was the conjunction of the moon and the sun to complete this one.”

As far as the eclipse’s duration, which it achieved, we’re pleased to report that it lasted longer than it took for an eclipse in England in 1839 to last more than two hours. That’s because a precise prediction was made back then, and sky gazers had a good chance to observe it.

The 2019 eclipse is shown here.

The other, highly anticipated story from Thursday’s partial lunar eclipse is that not only did it last a full four minutes longer than it did in 2012, it also happened three times as high up.

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