While the April 25 partial lunar eclipse was one of the smallest and shallowest in decades, it still produced some spectacular photographic opportunities. Peter Rosén captured the full moon during mid-eclipse posing next to the double-steeple church Högalid in central Stockholm, Sweden.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth, and moon align. During total lunar eclipses, the entire moon is engulfed in Earth's darkest shadow. But during partial eclipses, like last week's, the moon never completely goes dark or turns red—only a portion of its disk appears to go dim. (Related: "‘Rare' Lunar Eclipse Wednesday—Longest in a Decade.")
Keen-eyed skywatchers saw a tiny (less than two percent) sliver of the moon slip into the Earth's darkest shadow for less than half an hour—making this the shortest lunar disappearing act until 2034.
The entire eclipse event was visible across half the globe—throughout the Indian Ocean, Central Asia, western Australia, Africa, and Europe. (Related video: "Moon 101.")
Photograph by Peter Rosén
Photographer Frank Rumpenhorst positioned himself near the Frankfurt airport in Germany during the deepest part of the eclipse, catching a shot of a landing airplane crossing the face of the moon.
The April 25 partial lunar eclipse was the first of three visible to skywatchers this year. The next one, on May 25, will also be a very shallow eclipse. Only the very outer part of the moon's disk will be clipped by Earth's shadow, making it a challenge to witness with just the naked eye.
Photograph by Frank Rumpenhorst, European Pressphoto Agency
Tracking an Eclipse
The progress of the entire lunar eclipse is documented as the moon rose above the Tihany peninsula (map) near Lake Balaton in Hungary on April 25.
Snapping a photograph every few minutes, photographer Tamas Ladanyi was able to create this composite image of the moon as it glided through Earth's shadow.
An orange-hued orb peeks out from behind a coal factory in Bergheim, Germany (map), during the height of the eclipse, as captured by Henning Kaiser.
While total lunar eclipses do make the moon's disk appear red, partial eclipses rarely change its color. When the moon pushes into the deepest part of Earth's shadow during a total eclipse, light from the sun is refracted through Earth's atmosphere and is projected onto the moon's disk, making it appear red. (Related: "Lunar Eclipse Saturday to Appear Red?")
But if the moon just happens to be near the horizon, as it is in the above image, it can appear stained any color from yellow to orange thanks to air pollution in the Earth's atmosphere. The same light refraction occurs during sunsets—tinting the solar disk red. (See more moon and sunset pictures.)
Photograph by Henning Kaiser, Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP
Despite a thin cloud deck brushing across its face, April's partially eclipsed moon shines through in this photo snapped near Stockholm, Sweden.
Only a tiny portion of the moon's northeastern limb was visibly darkened during this partial lunar eclipse—which lasted 27 minutes—before Earth's shadow slipped off the moon's face.
Revelers stand silhouetted in front of April's partially eclipsed moon as it rose in the early evening hours above Freiburg, Germany.
Generally, two to four lunar eclipses occur each year. Later in 2013, two more penumbral lunar eclipses will be visible on May 25 and October 18. But skywatchers will have to wait until April 15, 2014, for the next total lunar eclipse, which will be visible across the Americas in the early morning hours. (Learn about eclipses occuring in 2013.)
Photograph by Patrick Seeger, Picture-Alliance/DPA/AP