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'Blood moon' creates lunar eclipse viewing frenzy at Griffith Park

Science

Those who slept through the rare "blood moon" Monday night missed more than just the rare red hue, as a packed Griffith Observatory erupted into whistles, cheers and howls during the much-anticipated lunar eclipse.

The crowds descended upon the observatory early, with hundreds of people lounging on the lawn hours before the eclipse was set to begin at about 11 p.m.

The observatory and the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, as well as other astronomy clubs and organizations, offered telescopes for viewers. As forecasters had predicted, clear skies made for for prime viewing conditions across the region.

As the "bite" began to spread across the moon -- and the Earth blocked direct light from the sun, casting a shadow on the moon -- a hush fell over the large crowd that had assembled to gaze upward.

The dark red hue came from the light of sunsets and sunrises over the rest of the Earth.

Inside the observatory, onlookers jockeyed for prime viewing spots on the balcony. As the darkened moon took on color shortly after midnight, onlookers snapped photos with phones and high-powered cameras and then took to social media to share their results.

See a sampling at the bottom of this story. (Mobile readers can find a version here):

Heven Renteria, 31, said he fell in love with the sky at age 6 while visiting the observatory with his mother. Gazing at the stars while overseas serving as a Marine brought him back to astronomy as a hobby.

Now he serves as an outreach coordinator for the Los Angeles Astronomical Society. 

“You don’t get to see the moon change colors every day,” he said.

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