A partially eclipsed full moon hangs in the evening sky over Belgrade, Serbia, on Wednesday during the start of a total lunar eclipse. The sight heralded thelongest and deepest total lunar eclipse seen in more than a decade.
"The path that the moon is taking through Earth's shadow is almost directly through [the shadow's] center, making for the longest possible path and so the longest duration," said Ben Burress, staff astronomer at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California.
Earth's shadow started to darken the moon around 18:22 universal time, or UT (2:22 p.m. eastern time). The period when the moon is completely engulfed in Earth's shadow—known as totality—began at 19:22 UT and lasted for almost two hours.
"The last eclipse that was as long as this one was in 2000, while the next won't be until 2018, so this makes it a somewhat rare event."
(Submit your June 15 lunar eclipse pictures and we may run them on National Geographic News. Be sure to use the word "eclipse.")
—With reporting by Andrew Fazekas
The energy for tomorrow’s lunar eclipse is starting to build, and it’s likely to have a profound effect on many of us. The eclipse will peak at the moment of the Full Moon at 4:14 pm Eastern.
This is a Full Moon in Sagittarius, the sign that represents our search for meaning. Sagittarius describes the Truth that we create for ourselves, and the urge for expansion and adventure that drives us in search for that Truth. The Gemini Sun opposes the Sagittarius Moon, urging us to integrate the Gemini/Sagittarius polarity of knowledge and learning. In Gemini we learn with an open mind; in Sagittarius we seek understanding and discrimination between that which is true and that which is not true. Gemini opens us to new experiences but lacks discrimination; Sagittarius creates more rigid ideology but learns discernment. Neither is better than the other, but the two require balance.
A conjunction of Mercury, Gemini’s ruler, to the Gemini Sun will weigh the balance heavily in Gemini’s favor, activating the mind to be curious and wide awake, processing our life’s experiences through the realm of thoughts and ideas. This can take us away from the emotional heart where wisdom can settle and become integrated into our life, and a conjunction of Chiron to Neptune in the eclipse chart suggests that there is still soul work to be done.
This eclipse is a powerful one as the Sun and Moon are only one degree from a conjunction to the nodes of the Moon. The lunar nodes are not planetary bodies but are points in the sky where the Moon crosses the apparent path of the Sun from our earthly perspective. The nodes are connected with our evolutionary progress and eclipses are said to occur when a lunation (Full or New Moon) occurs in proximity to the nodes. Because this alignment is so tight, within one degree, this is a total eclipse and it contains greater astrological meaning.
Saturn has just changed direction to travel forward after a retrograde period, and it is still virtually stationary as it begins to pick up speed for its journey in direct motion. As the planet of structure and responsibility, Saturn requires that we build a container in our lives for the transitions that are to come. Saturn is traveling freely now, unencumbered by aspects to other planets which can create stress as we struggle with the process of how to apply focus in our lives.
In the eclipse chart Uranus and Pluto are lining up in a powerful aspect that is likely to create intense ripples of transformational energy through all of the political systems as well as our personal lives. The square of Uranus and Pluto will be closer in July than any time this year before beginning their actual dance next year, but the pieces are falling into place.
This eclipse is an opportunity for us to examine our belief systems (Sagittarius) and keep an open mind to new ideas (Gemini) that will help us to create new structures (Saturn) for the change and transformation that is to come (Uranus/Pluto). Yet the heart must remain open, because the work of the soul (Chiron/Neptune) is not yet complete.
So enter into the journey of this eclipse free from fear, and with a spirit of adventure and curiosity and all will be well!