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Lunar eclipse: Watch the longest near-total covering for nearly 600 years

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By Euronews
The Earth's shadow begins to fall on the moon during a total lunar eclipse, as seen above Miami, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014
The Earth's shadow begins to fall on the moon during a total lunar eclipse, as seen above Miami, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014   -   Copyright  Credit: AP

North America and much of South America are set to enjoy a "near-total" lunar eclipse, the longest of its kind since 1440.

But the eclipse -- which, at its most intense will see 99.1% of the Moon's visible surface masked -- won't be visible in most parts of Europe.

You can watch the event in the video player on this page.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned. Our natural satellite then finds itself in the shadow of the Earth, which hides it from our view. If the alignment is not perfect, the eclipse is not total.

Today's eclipse, although only partial, will last three hours, 28 minutes and 23 seconds, the longest since February 18, 1440, which lasted 23 seconds longer.

The eclipse will begin at 8:19 CET when the moon enters the shadow of the Earth. For terrestrial observers, the lunar disk will give the impression of being slowly nibbled.

At 9:45 CET, more than 95% of the lunar disk will be in the shadow and the Moon will take on a reddish hue as the Earth's atmosphere deflects the red rays of sunlight into the cone of its shadow.

This phenomenon will be most visible during the peak of the eclipse at 10:03 CET.

At 11:47 CET, the Moon will be visible again in its entirety.