On June 15 2011 a Lunar Eclipse took place. This one was classified as a Central lunar eclipse which is defined as an eclipse where part of the moon passes through the center of the Earth’s shadow. These are the darkest eclipses and relatively rare. This was the first of two such eclipses in 2011. The second will occur on December 10, 2011. This was also the longest total lunar eclipse in 11 years.
A lunar eclipse happens when the Moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. Earth always has a shadow, which is created by the Sun. On those rare occasions when the Moon, Earth and the Sun are all lined up just right, the Moon passes through this shadow. This would happen every full moon if the Moon orbited around the Earth in the same plane as the Earth orbits around the Sun. The Moons orbit, however, is tilted about 5 degrees above the Earth-Sun plane. This tilt itself, however, rotates, allowing eclipses to happen when the tilt of this plane lines up with the Earth-Sun plane, blocking sunlight.
The moon about one and a half hours before the start of the lunar eclipse.
The moon about 45 minutes after the start of the lunar eclipse.
The moon about 50 minutes after the start of the lunar eclipse.
The moon about 55 minutes after the start of the lunar eclipse.
This picture was taken exactly one hour after the start of the eclipse.