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The most spectacular picture of the Blood Moon reveals the real truths of the phenomenon

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Blood Moon April 2014
Blood Moon, as photographed by Michelle Watson at 2:14 a.m. April 15 from Bellaire. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com

While most of us were sleeping, the moon turned into a cosmic red ball and glowed rather ominously in the sky in the wee hours this morning as the Blood Moon.

And thanks to always-on-the-spot photographer, Michelle Watson, we all can marvel in the daylight at this phenomenon via the fantastic shot she snapped at 2:14 a.m. of the total lunar eclipse from a location in Bellaire.

The Blood Moon was visible to everyone in the United States for about 78 minutes because of perfect weather conditions.

The spectacular sight — and not at all harmful in any way, even to the naked eye — is the first total lunar eclipse in more than two years, with the last one in December 2011. Total lunar eclipses happen when Earth is positioned just precisely between the sun and a full moon. And because of the tilt of the moon's orbit, total eclipses only occur about twice in the course of three years.

 The Blood Moon was visible to everyone in the United States for about 78 minutes because of perfect weather conditions. 

What makes the moon turn red? In layman's terms, the moon gets significantly darker when it is fully engulfed by Earth’s shadow. The red coloration is due to sunlight scattered through our planet’s atmosphere, which then reflects off the surface of the moon.

The eclipse kicked off a string of four such events, which astronomy and NASA experts call a tetrad. The three other eclipses are due on Oct. 8 and then next year on April 4 and 28.

We'll need to set our own alarms next time 'round.

Got a great photo of a Houston happening or everyday occurrence? Send it to barbara@culturemap.com, along with details (who, what, where and why it's special). It might make our Pix of the Day.

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