On the night of July 27 and into the morning of July 28, lucky observers got to witness a once-in-a-lifetime meeting in the sky: the longest “blood moon” eclipse of the 21st century, flanked by a big, brilliant Mars as it heads toward its closest approach to Earth since 2003.
The moon and Mars were traveling the night sky together, separated by less than the width of a hand held at arm's length. Stargazers in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America were able to see at least part of the total lunar eclipse. With a maximum eclipse lasting one hour, 42 minutes, and 57 seconds, this event marks the longest eclipse of its kind that will happen this century.
Not everyone got to enjoy the view. People in the Arctic, most of the Pacific Ocean, and North America missed out on the lunar show. And even for people in the right regions, clear skies were hardly a given. But wherever possible, photographers were training their gaze on the sky to capture the epic eclipse in stunning detail.
Below are our favourite photographs of the event, selected in near-real time by National Geographic photo editors.
LEAD IMAGE: The full moon rises behind silhouetted climbers on Mount Artos in Turkey's Van Province on July 27. Later that night, the brilliant orb would become a "blood moon" during the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. PHOTOGRAPH BY ALI IHSAN OZTURK/ANADOLU AGENCY, GETTY IMAGES