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Volcano ash could turn Australia eclipse blood red

June 15, 2011


 Australian night owls will be treated to a lunar eclipse, and ash in the atmosphere from a Chilean volcano could turn it blood red.

The Sydney Observatory says the eclipse will begin at 3:25 a.m. Thursday (1:25 p.m. EDT, 5:25 p.m. GMT Wednesday) and last until after 5 a.m.

Scientists say the specific phenomenon happening Thursday — known as a “deep lunar eclipse” — often exudes a coppery color. But the intensity of the color depends on the amount of ash and dust in the atmosphere. Luckily for moon-gazers, there’s plenty of ash in the air. Air travelers haven’t been so lucky: The ash has grounded hundreds of flights around the region.

Scientists say the eclipse can be safely observed with the naked eye.

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