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A Stunning 'Blood Moon' — Total Lunar Eclipse — Was Visible In LA Sunday Night

The moon is awash in red
A blood moon captured over L.A. during a live broadcast Sunday night by the Griffith Observatory.
(Courtesy Griffith Obsveratory)
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A stunning total lunar eclipse was visible from Southern California on Sunday night — spurring a slew of amateur photographers sharing images on social both here and around the world. [And, yes, we'd be happy to see yours, too.]

So what is a "blood moon" and why do they happen?

"The red color is basically all the sunsets' and sunrises' ... red light getting through the atmosphere and bending and getting to the moon, whereas the blue light is getting scattered," explained Bruce Betts, a chief scientist with the Planetary Society,.

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During the eclipse the moon goes dark red, which is why it's sometimes called the "blood moon," Betts said.

The peak of visibility in Los Angeles was 9:11 p.m.

The Griffith Observatory hosted a viewing party where amateur astronomers set up their telescopes on the facility's lawn.

Griffith Observatory president Ed Krupp said that a telescope isn't necessary, though. The eclipse will be visible without any accoutrements.

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"Here in Southern California, the eclipse starts before the moon actually rises," he said. "So it rises partly, eclipses, and then just continues to get higher in the sky. Over the course of the next few hours, it goes into total eclipse and then emerges again."

Six colored lines appear in an arc over a map of the world to indicate.
A map showing where the May 15-16, 2022 lunar eclipse is visible. Contours mark the edge of the visibility region at eclipse contact times. The map is centered on 63°52'W, the sublunar longitude at mid-eclipse.
Courtesy NASA)

So where to watch? Experts do not recommend the beach due to the likelihood of clouds moving in over the moon.

"Places near the coast, within 10 miles, probably have the best chance for cloud cover," said Adam Roser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

And if you had trouble getting a clear view, the Griffith Observatory had a livestream with a spectacularly close look.

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At the observatory event Sunday, staff performed a dragon-banishing ceremony including banging drums and incantations. That was to honor many traditions from around the world that believed lunar eclipses were caused by mythical creatures taking a bite out of the moon.

Another total lunar eclipse will occur in November, after which there won't be another for three years.

Ahead of Sunday's show, Betts cautioned: "You never know about clouds, so I encourage you not to miss this one."

Here's what it looked like around the world:

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San Francisco

The moon has red outline at the right as it appears in the evening sky
A partially-eclipsed Blood Moon rises over San Francisco's Coit Tower on May 15, 2022.
(Justin Sullivan
/
Getty Images North America)

France

The moon has an orange tint.
The moon rises just before a blood red total lunar eclipse in Montlouis-sur-Loire, central France on May 15, 2022.
(Guillaume Souvant
/
AFP via Getty Images)

Colombia

A red moon reflects light from the sun at the top right.
The blood moon is seen during a total lunar eclipse in Bogota, on May 15, 2022.
(Daneil Munoz
/
AFP via Getty Images)

Russia

A light red moon is behind a decorative spire
The full moon from Red Square in downtown Moscow on May 15, 2022.
(Kirill Kudryavtsev
/
AFP via Getty Images)
What questions do you have about Southern California?