Unusually short total lunar eclipse dazzles sky watchers

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A total lunar eclipse was observable throughout Thailand shortly after moonrise last Saturday, April 4.  Shown here rising behind the Plubplachai temple in Bangkok, the eclipse was also viewable on a clear night here in Pattaya. Unusually short, the event was the first and only full lunar eclipse observable from Thailand this year. In total, it lasted for or 3 hours and 31 minutes, although the moon was shadowed entirely by the earth’s umbra for only 5 minutes. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

The public was able to observe the only total lunar eclipse of this year in Thailand on 4 April 2015, said the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT).

NARIT said last Saturday’s lunar eclipse, also known as a blood moon for its dark red color, occurred only 15 days after the March 20 solar eclipse.

The unusually short event was the first and only full lunar eclipse observable from Thailand this year. It lasted for 3 hours and 31 minutes. The moon was shadowed entirely by the earth’s umbra for 5 minutes.

A total lunar eclipse was observable throughout Thailand shortly after moonrise last Saturday, April 4.  Shown here rising behind the Plubplachai temple in Bangkok, the eclipse was also viewable on a clear night here in Pattaya. Unusually short, the event was the first and only full lunar eclipse observable from Thailand this year. In total, it lasted for or 3 hours and 31 minutes, although the moon was shadowed entirely by the earth’s umbra for only 5 minutes. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)A total lunar eclipse was observable throughout Thailand shortly after moonrise last Saturday, April 4.  Shown here rising behind the Plubplachai temple in Bangkok, the eclipse was also viewable on a clear night here in Pattaya. Unusually short, the event was the first and only full lunar eclipse observable from Thailand this year. In total, it lasted for or 3 hours and 31 minutes, although the moon was shadowed entirely by the earth’s umbra for only 5 minutes. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

The eclipse was unusually brief because the moon passed through the upper part of Earth’s shadow. Longer eclipses occur when the moon passes through the middle of the shadow.

The eclipse was the 30th eclipse from a total of 71 eclipses in the 132nd Saros Series. The previous eclipse in this series occurred 18 years ago on 24 March 1997.