A total lunar eclipse occurred on December 10th, 2011, and was clearly viewed almost throughout the world and most clearly by those living in Asia and surrounding areas. For the next total Lunar eclipse, we will have to wait until April 2014.
Moreover, the lunar eclipse was a rare occurrence because people were able to observe the eclipse while they saw the sun rising from the east. This caused an optical illusion that made the sun and the moon both look bigger than usual.
"Not only will the moon be beautifully red, it will also be inflated by the moon illusion," NASA scientists had explained. "For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects."
He said that although the moon would not enlarge in size, it would appear as such to the human brain. This rare occasion of the sun appearing at the time of the lunar eclipse is called senelion.
NASA said before the eclipse that this year’s lunar eclipse would turn the entire moon to copper red, as the Earth comes between the moon and the sun. The NASA Science Cast said that the eclipse would begin at 4:45 am PST and viewers would be able to catch its glimpse for at least an hour.
In a video made by NASA, eclipse expert Richard Keen explained the reason for the copper red moon. "During the lunar eclipse, most of the light illuminating the moon passes through the stratosphere, where it is reddened by scattering," Keen said. "If the stratosphere is loaded with dust from volcanic eruptions, the eclipse will be dark. A clear stratosphere, on the other hand, produces a brighter eclipse. At the moment, the stratosphere is mostly clear, with little input from recent volcanoes. That explains the brightness of the eclipse."
He said that despite of being darkened by the shadow of the Earth, the moon would appear to be giving out a reddish glow.
The next total lunar eclipse will not occur until mid of 2014, while a partial lunar eclipse will take place on 4th June, 2012, and will be visible to all those in North America who have missed it this time.