16 Jun 2011

Early start to catch lunar eclipse

8:24 am on 16 June 2011

The longest lunar eclipse in 11 years will occur on Thursday morning, but New Zealanders will only see the start of it.

The Royal Astronomical Society says the moon will set here soon after the eclipse begins.

Vicki Irons, an educational officer for Wellington's Carter Observatory, says the eclipse may be even darker than usual due to volcanic ash in the atmosphere from eruptions in Chile.

Ms Irons says the eclipse could be anywhere from blood red to pitch black and should start about 5.30am.