Lunar eclipse will be visible from NZ

01:43, Jan 31 2009

The only lunar eclipse visible from New Zealand for more than three years will happen later this month.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth passes between the sun and the moon, blocking the light from the sun reaching the moon's surface. The moon will pass through the shadow of the earth.

The eclipse on Tuesday, August 28 will start at 7.52pm, but won't be noticed until around 8.51pm, when the moon enters the full shadow of the earth.

The moon will be fully eclipsed by the earth's shadow from 9.52pm to 11.23pm, with the eclipse over by 1.22am.

Carter Observatory senior astronomer Brian Carter said the impressive part of a lunar eclipse was the rich coppery red colour of the moon during its time in shadow.

This was caused by the dusty earth's atmosphere scattering red light onto the lunar surface, he said.

If you miss this eclipse, your next chance to see one is not until December 2010.