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Lunar Total Eclipse Draws Mother Lode To Skies

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A total eclipse of the moon put on a show last night in the sky above the Mother Lode — but weather conditions in some regions of the nation made viewing opportunities spotty.

Kelly Beatty is the executive editor of Sky and Telescope magazine in Boston. Beatty says clouds are obscuring the view and making for a disappointing night.

About a dozen sky watchers gathered at the lookout parking area of New Melones Lake in Calaveras County at dusk to watch the ruddy-colored moon rise above the foothills.

The eclipse began at 7:03 p.m. Pacific time, but only for sky gazers on the East Coast and South America. The moon remained totally eclipsed for 53 minutes, appearing darkest around 9 p.m. Pacific time.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes into the shadow of the Earth and is blocked from the direct sunlight that normally illuminates it. Lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye.