When the final crescent of sunlight slid away, the Moon turned a dim, reddish-brown and suddenly looked more spherical. The usual silvery glare, we realized, obscures its contour.
Last night, here in Madrid, Spain, the visible eclipse started at 22:30 local time, when the edge of the Moon touched the edge of the shadow of the Earth. By 23:43, it had slid fully within the shadow, lit only by the sunlight lensed and filtered by the Earth's atmosphere. At 00:57, it began to emerge, and at 2:11, the Moon looked normal again.
The weather remained unusually warm for this time of year, still about 10C/50F at midnight, when my husband and I were on a hill in a park in our neighborhood, staring up at the sky.
A elderly man came to walk his dog. "Ah, yes, the eclipse," he said, looking up with us. "It's the last one I'll live to see."
People had paused to watch everywhere. Encouraged by the warm temperatures and Madrid's non-stop nightlife (no self-respecting adult goes to bed before midnight even on weekdays), they were on "la marcha": they had marched out of their homes to go out and have fun, and a free show always attracts a crowd. One neighbor was hosting a moon-watching party, and a half-dozen young men lounged on the balcony, alternating their boisterous attention between the Moon and some pretty young women down in the street leaning against a wall, talking on their cellphones, eyes on the skies, coolly ignoring them.
The next total lunar eclipse visible in Spain will be in 2029.
Photos from around the world here:http://www.spaceweather.com/eclipses/gallery_03mar07.htm