First lunar eclipse of 2023 dims full moon

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Stargazers in Australia and Asia had the best seats for the year’s first lunar eclipse.

The four-hour eclipse got under way late on Friday or early on Saturday, depending on the location, as the moon slipped into the fringes of Earth’s shadow.

In what is known as a penumbral lunar eclipse, the full moon passed within the outer part of Earth’s shadow, causing the moon to dim only slightly.

Such an eclipse is not as dramatic as a partial lunar eclipse or a total lunar eclipse when the moon, Earth and sun are perfectly aligned.

It was visible across almost all of Europe.

The Virtual Telescope Project planned to livestream the moon rising over the countryside in Tuscany, Italy.

“Even subtle astronomical events like this one make me excited and happy to share them,” astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, the project’s founder, said.

China Lunar Eclipse
A penumbral lunar eclipse is seen through cloud during the early hours of Saturday in Beijing (Ng Han Guan/AP/PA)

The eastern portions of both Americas will get to see at least part of a partial lunar eclipse, when some but not all of the moon passes through the Earth’s dark, central shadow. Asia, Africa and Europe will be treated to the whole show.

A total lunar eclipse is not due until 2025 with North America and the western half of South America in front-row seats.

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