An airplane approaches Reagan National Airport, flying past the blood moon
Last night's lunar eclipse was a sight to behold, mostly because it was also accompanied by an eerie reddish-orange moon, most often called a blood moon.
Millions of skywatchers and astronomers took stunning photographs of the rare event, weather permitting, particularly in the Americas and Asia.
A lunar eclipse happens when the moon aligns with the Earth and sun and then passes behind Earth into its shadow. The orange-reddish color is the sun's light refracting off of Earth's atmosphere. Full lunar eclipses only occur every few years, but recent years have been different, with this being the second of four such events over the next two years. After that, though, it will be 20 years before multiple lunar eclipses occur like this again.
The eclipse reached its final stages before dawn in the United States, but those on the West Coast witnessed the blood moon with a completely dark sky. Those in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, however, completely missed the event.
Australians saw the blood moon, although cloud cover moved in just prior to the eclipse.
"Very spectacular," says Geoff Wyat, an astronomer at Sydney Observatory. "The cloud certainly got in the way, but we've seen it during totality and of course that's always the highlight - to see that lovely, reddish-brown color."
In Tokyo, Japan, many people took to the tops of skyscrapers for a better view, although cloud cover threatened to obscure it
"When the sun, moon and earth align, I get the feeling that we are also a part of the solar system," says Yoshiko Yoneyama, a 66-year-old homemaker. "It's that kind of feeling.
Blood moons are of particular interest to many because a blood moon was once seen as a sign of the biblical apocalypse. Now, however, most just see these events as yet another wonder of the cosmos.
If you missed last night's blood moon, you're still in luck. The next total lunar eclipse happens on April 15, 2015, with two more to follow on April 4 and Sept. 28, 2016.
Unlike solar eclipses, you can view a lunar eclipse safely with the naked eye or with a telescope without filters.