'Blood moon' lunar eclipse seen in NZ

Last updated 20:25 15/04/2014

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Stargazers from Wanaka to Hawke's Bay have been treated to a total lunar eclipse tonight.

From 6pm to 8.30pm, the moon moved through the eclipse to become a blood Moon - a description that relates to light bouncing off the Moon and being refracted through the Earth's atmosphere, giving it a coppery hue.

MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett had predicted that residents in north Wairarapa, Hawke's Bay and Gisborne would have the best view of the blood moon and based on photos from Stuff readers, he was right.

MetService tweeted a high-resolution image showing thinning cloud over Waikato, the lower North Island and the Wellington region, residents of which also stand to catch a glimpse of the rare phenomenon.

Rain on the West Coast of the South Island was creeping across the Southern Alps, making successful viewing unlikely in that region.

However, Corbett said there was always a chance the cloud could lift at just the right moment.

The eclipse is the start of a tetrad of blood moons - four successive total lunar eclipses, with no partial lunar eclipses in-between and six full moons between each eclipse.

It will be visible around New Zealand from 6pm when the Moon starts to move into the Earth's shadow and will be completely within the shadow by 7.06pm. Maximum eclipse would be at 7.46pm and totality would end at 8.23pm.

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