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PHOTOS: Moon Watchers Observe Rare Hunter's Moon and Lunar Eclipse

Liz Burlingame
Published: October 19, 2013

The full moon dipped into Earth's outer shadow Oct. 18, producing a shallow lunar eclipse that could be seen by keen sky-watchers across the globe.

October's full moon, traditionally known as the Hunter's Moon, lost just a bit of silvery luster last night as part of its southern limb gradually dimmed. The celestial phenomenon occurs when the moon passes only through the Earth's faint outer shadow, called the penumbra.

While the eclipse, the last of 2013, was very subtle, the moon itself was striking. It reached 100 percent fullness at around 7:40 p.m. EDT.

The name Hunter's Moon reputedly comes from those who used the light to their advantage, according to Science@NASA. “Hunters tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead,” writes NASA’s Tony Phillips. “You can picture them: Silent figures padding through the forest, the moon overhead, pale as a corpse, its cold light betraying the creatures of the wood.”

This weekend is also prime time for the Orionid meteor shower, which flares up every October when Earth passes through the stream of cosmic grit left behind by Halley's Comet. The best views are expected between midnight and dawn on Sunday and Monday.

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