Planetary alignment on Friday has offered sky-gazers around the globe a chance to witness a spectacular near-total lunar eclipse, the longest since the 1440s.

The fascinating astronomical phenomenon lasted three hours and 28 minutes – the longest in centuries, according to international space agencies. On Thursday and Friday, depending on local time zones, the Earth, Sun and Moon aligned in such a way that 97.4% of our natural satellite’s surface was darkened in shadow.

When the Moon came out of the shroud, it turned bloody or rusty red in sunlight.

The dramatic celestial show was visible in those parts of the globe where the Moon appeared above the horizon during the eclipse.

Sky watchers in North and South America, parts of Eastern Asia and Australia had a chance to witness the phenomenon.

In Russia, the partial eclipse could be seen in Siberia and the Far East. Russian space agency Roscosmos also shared images of the shadowed moon as seen from the International Space Station (ISS).

Adding to the astonishment, the Moon was very low in the sky for much of the eclipse, causing an optical illusion that made it seem larger.

While the full Moon travels through Earth’s shadow roughly two times a year, lunar eclipses are usually far shorter.

The latest event, due to its rare duration, might have affected people not only visually, but also emotionally, astrologers cautioned.

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