Eclipse 2018 pictures: Blood Moon pictures snapped in space by astronauts | Science | News

Astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) were perhaps in the best location to watch the July 27 lunar eclipse. 

Down on Earth, the Moon appeared to darken when it passed through the Earth’s shadow and took on a deep red hue. 

But witnessed from the cold, dark of space the Blood Moon eclipse was something else entirely. 

German astronaut Alexander Gerst has his trustworthy camera at hand to document the Blood Moon as it changed colour during the one hour and 43 minutes eclipse.

The veteran astronaut and geophysicist snapped these incredible photos from the best vantage point possible – 250 miles above Earth on the ISS.

As the orbital laboratory barrels through , the ISS completes between 15 and 16 complete trips around the Earth.

Each trip lasts about 90 minutes, giving Mr Gerst 45 minute windows in the nightside of Earth to catch a glimpse of the Blood Moon. 

And the effort clearly paid off for the astronaut because his photos of the eclipsed Moon are second to none. 

Eclipse 2018: Astronaut Alexander Gerst photographed the Blood Moon from the ISS (Image: ALEXANDER GERST/ESA)

On the night of Friday, July 27, Mr Gerst first snapped a stunning portrait of the glowing orb just as the moon started to turn orange.

He said: “Just took a photo of the lunar from the International Space Station.

“Tricky to capture. The slight hue of blue is actually the Earth’s atmosphere, just before the Moon is ‘diving into it’.”

Mr Gerst did not catch a glimpse of the Blood Moon until the final moments of totality when the Moon was leaving the Earth’s shadow. 

The second photo shows a thin, crescent stripe of the Moon illuminated by sunlight hitting the orb from behind the Earth. 

The astronaut said: “Caught the Moon leaving Earth’s core shadow, just before setting over the South Atlantic.

“Last photo of the lunar eclipse taken from ISS.”

But the astronaut had one more photo in store, this time taken far, far away from the Moon.

Eclipse 2018: Blood Moon seen from the ISS

Eclipse 2018: The Blood Moon peaked in the night skies on Frida, July 27 (Image: ALEXANDER GERST/ESA)

Eclipse 2018: The Blood Moon seen from Space

Eclipse 2018: The ISS circles the Earth roughly every 90 minutes (Image: ALEXANDER GERST/ESA)

The “magical” photo of the eclipsed Moon in the distance looks like nothing more than a thin strip of curved light against the vast darkness of space. 

Just took a photo of the lunar eclipse from the International Space Station

Alexander Gerst, Astronaut

Below the Blood Moon is a bright blue glow of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The remarkable picture truly puts into perspective the distance between the Earth and its natural satellite – 238,900 miles. 

Mr Gerst said: “A partially eclipsed Moon, with our neighbouring planet in the background, just before diving into Earth’s atmosphere. Just magical.”

Eclipse 2018: Blood Moon picture taken in space

Eclipse 2018: Another Blood Moon eclipse will take place on January 21, 2019 (Image: ALEXANDER GERST/ESA)

The total lunar eclipse turned the Moon a blood-red hue last month due to a trick of light known as Rayleigh Scattering.

The effect was caused by scattered sunlight refracted around the edges of the Earth’s dusty atmosphere falling onto the Moon. 

The scattering of light filters out most bands of colour on the visible spectrum but least affects red and orange light, hence the unusual colour of the Moon. 

The next total lunar eclipse will peak on the night of January 21, 2019, and will be visible over the Western Hemisphere. 

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