Eclipse visible despite cloud

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A handful of astronomy enthusiasts were up at 6am on Saturday to watch the lunar eclipse from an extremely chilly Pioneer Park.

Central Otago Astronomical Society secretary and treasurer Barrie Wills set up his telescope at the park and waited for the celestial event to unfold.

A cooked breakfast from a nearby cafe added to the flavour of the event.

Apart from some cloud cover, which made the viewing hazy at times, watchers were able to see the moon take on a red tinge as the Earth’s shadow moved across its surface.

However, as the shadow completely covered it, the sun also started to rise at the same time, and the moon disappeared behind cloud.

Mr Wills said the view was surprisingly good, considering the weather conditions.

“We got some good views through to totality [complete coverage of the moon by the shadow] and we had some reasonable views of Mars as well,” he said.

Lunar views . . . Central Otago Astronomical Society secretary and treasurer Barrie Wills looks through his telescope, which he set up at Pioneer Park, Alexandra, early on Saturday morning, to watch the lunar eclipse. PHOTO: YVONNE O’HARA