Lunar Eclipse - Gil Cohen-Magen - 10122011
Lunar Eclipse observed over Modiin. Photo by Gil Cohen-Magen
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A total eclipse of the moon was observed in Israel on Saturday, peaking at 4:30 P.M. and lasting just under half an hour. The moon remained partially eclipsed until about 6:18 P.M.. The eclipse was unusual because it took place at sunset.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes behind the earth, so that the moon, earth and sun are aligned; the earth blocks the sun's rays from striking the moon. The moon is completely darkened during a total eclipse, but due to the refraction of sunlight by the earth's atmosphere, the moon does not completely disappear as it passes through the earth's shadow. Instead it is lit by a pale shade of orange-red.

A total lunar eclipse usually occurs three times a year. Saturday’s eclipse took place while the moon was rising and the sun was setting, an extremely rare event. The last total lunar eclipse was observed in Israel about six months ago.