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Lunar eclipse: YouTube to broadcast today’s astronomical event live

June 15, 2011 | 10:36 am

Eclipse_custom

YouTube will be broadcasting on the Web a red-glowing lunar eclipse today at 11:20 a.m. PDT that otherwise will only be visible in the skies of South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. Sorry, North America.

The lunar event will last about 100 minutes and be live-streamed in video to Google's official YouTube channel.

"We're always fascinated by the unique wonders of space and the world -- what can we say, it's the geek in us," wrote Noel Gorelick, Google's chief extraterrestrial observer, in a company blog post.

PHOTOS:  Total eclipse of the moon

"Naturally, when we learned that part of the world will be treated to a rare 100-minute-long total lunar eclipse starting at 11:20 am PDT today, we were both excited and disappointed that this rare occasion wouldn't be visible from our Mountain View campus like last year's eclipse."

Suspecting they weren't alone in wanting to see the eclipse, a team of Googlers contacted the folks at Web-broadcasting Slooh SpaceCamera to get a real-time video feed of the eclipse onto YouTube.

Slooh is hosting a mission interface Web app, built using Google's App Engine technology, that will also broadcast the video feed and will be "equipped with audio narrations from real-life astronomers so you can hear a firsthand, expert account of the event," Gorelick said. 

Images of the lunar eclipse will also be posted to Slooh's SpaceCamera Android app, he said.

"If you're fortunate enough to be able to view this event in the sky, we hope you'll get the chance to step outside and indulge in the spectacle," Gorelick said. "For everyone else, we hope our moon madness helps brighten your day."

The eclipse will be the first full eclipse of 2011 and, at 100 minutes, will also be the longest lunar eclipse in more than a decade, according to Spaceweather.com.

The expected red tint will be due to exhaust from the erupting volcano in Chile, which could alter the appearance of the eclipse, Spaceweather.com reported.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A simulation of what today's lunar eclipse should look. Credit: Google

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