John Rennie writes on PLoS:

Skywatchers are excitedly awaiting the total lunar eclipse that will occur tonight between 2:41 a.m. and 3:53 a.m. EST, and if you intend to stay awake to watch this amazing sight, then by all means read the description of the 12 stages of the eclipse. Joe Rao’s article thoughtfully explains what you will see as the moon transits through different portions of the earth’s shadow. I wholeheartedly recommend it — if you want to wallow in astronomical nonsense.

Oh, I’m sure Joe Rao’s piece is backed up by an abundance of scientific facts and observations, if you care to put your faith in such things. But those of us well-versed in the ancient wisdoms know that the real 12 stages of a lunar eclipse are as follows:

1. Faint penumbral dimming of the moon’s disk.
2. Pervasive creeping sensations of unease.
3. Howling of wolves.
4. Unclean things walk the earth; Dick Cheney rises from the grave.
5. Contortion of the zodiac.
6. Intrusion of strange dimensions.
7. Universal gibbering madness.
8. Cthulhu.
9. A glimmer of sanity in the chaos.
10. Restoration of Euclidean geometry.
11. Fungal Mi-go from Yuggoth return captive brains to their rightful owners.
12. Applause, followed by waffles for breakfast.

Via the Telegraph:

The spectacle, visible in a roughly 185-mile band running 8,060 miles across the globe, set a record for the longest annular eclipse that will remain unbeaten for more than a thousand years.

An annular eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly in front of the sun but does not completely obscure it, thus leaving a ring — an annulus — of sunlight flaring around the lunar disk.

The moon’s shadow first struck the south-western tip of Chad and western Central African Republic at 5.14 GMT and then reached Uganda, Kenya, and Somalia before racing across India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China.

Local media in the affected areas issued warnings about the dangers of looking directly at the sun, but fascinated onlookers thronged streets to witness the celestial phenomenon.