A blood red moon emblazoned Australian skies on Wednesday night, during a rare total lunar eclipse. The extraordinary astronomical event has occurred only a handful of times over the past 500 hundred years. A blood moon occurs in the event of a total lunar eclipse, when the sun, moon and earth form a line and the Earth blocks all sunlight to the Moon. The moon turns a deep red as some light from the sun is bent around Earth’s atmosphere and reflected onto the moon. The light reflected is a reddish colour from all the sunsets and sunrises of the Earth shining onto the moon. Australians are in the fortunate geograpahic location where they will be able to witness the entire event. Those on the east coast will have the best views, being able to watch the moon’s entire transformation throughout the eclipse. In some of Australia’s western reigons the whole eclipse will not be visible as the event begins before moonrise. Dr Alan Duffy, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology, said in a statement there are key aspects of the event to watch. “The eclipse begins with a shadow slowly appearing on the surface of the Moon. Over the next hour more of the Moon will be covered until eventually it lies directly behind the Earth away from the Sun,” Dr Duffy said. “At this point the Moon should be blacked-out but it will actually appear blood red. This colour is from all the sunrises and sunsets of Earth shining onto the Moon. “The phase of totality with a red moon lasts for an hour, before the Moon begins to leave the umbra and the series of events reverses over the course of the final hour.” This blood moon is the second in a series of four, the first taking place in April of this year. The latter two in the series of eclipes will take place in April next year, but only for a few minutes. At least two lunar eclipses occur every year, although the year 2038 will bring an incredible seven lunar eclipses.