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Total Lunar Eclipse Late Wednesday


Skywatchers in the Western Hemisphere will be able to view the full moon in shades of red as it slides into the shadow of the Earth during a total lunar eclipse Wednesday night.

If weather conditions are favorable, the entire eclipse will be visible in South America and most of North America late Wednesday. People in western Europe, Africa and western Asia can view the eclipse before dawn on Thursday.

The U.S. space agency, NASA, says the major stage of the eclipse will last about 50 minutes at 0301 GMT until 0351 GMT. NASA says the moon can take on a dramatically colorful appearance, from bright orange to blood red, as it passes through the Earth's shadow.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes into the Earth's shadow and is blocked from the sun's rays.

Wednesday's event will mark the last total lunar eclipse until 2010.

The moon will not be completely dark because some light still reaches it around the edges of the Earth.

Unlike solar eclipses, which require protective eyewear, lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye.

The last total lunar eclipse took place in August 2007.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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