Unusually short total lunar eclipse dazzles skywatchers

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Saturday, April 4, 2015
The moon is seen during a lunar eclipse phase, Beijing on April 4, 2015.

LOS ANGELES -- The total eclipse of the moon lasted only a short time, but it still dazzled.

Early risers in the western U.S. and Canada should have been able to catch a glimpse before dawn Saturday. The moment when the moon was completely obscured by Earth's shadow lasted several minutes, making it the shortest lunar eclipse of the century.

PHOTOS: Unusually short total lunar eclipse dazzles skywatchers

Some skygazers complained that clouds prevented them from seeing any of the 3-hour lunar show.

People in eastern Australia, New Zealand and Japan viewed the eclipse at night.

The total eclipse was unusually brief because the moon passed through the upper part of Earth's shadow. Longer eclipses occur when the moon passes through the middle of the shadow.

The next total lunar eclipse will occur in September.