Astronomy: The Cause of the Dark Moon and Those Red Sunsets

Sky gazers who stayed awake to see last week's eclipse of the moon were treated to an astronomical surprise: the moon actually did disappear from view. Even during a total eclipse, the moon usually glows red after it slides into shadow because a small amount of refracted sunlight is bent around the earth by the atmosphere. This time, as observers in the small chilly hours watched the earth's shadow creep across the lunar surface, the moon's light finally flickered out entirely.

Among those who watched the blackout was Professor John A. Russell, chairman of the University of Southern California's astronomy department....

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