Google Features Doodle of Year's First Total Lunar Eclipse

The year's first total eclipse of the moon -- a rare celestial treat that lasted an unusually long time -- is now over. But those who didn't see it can catch the replay on Google's latest doodle, which offers a full time lapse of the lunar events.

Throughout the eclipse, Google uploaded new pictures to the sequence every two minutes from cameras in South Africa, the Canary Islands and Dubai, the company told ABC News.

The eclipse sadly wasn't visible from the United States and Canada, as North America was left out of Wednesday's lunar spectacle entirely, but it was visible from start to finish from eastern Africa, central Asia, the Middle East and western Australia.

The period when Earth's shadow completely blocked the moon -- known as totality -- lasted around a whopping 1 hour and 40 minutes. The last time the moon was covered for this long was in July 2000, when it lasted 7 minutes longer than that.

The full moon normally glows from reflected sunlight. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon glides through the long shadow cast by the Earth and is blocked from the sunlight that illuminates it.

As the moon plunged deeper into the Earth's shadow, the disk will appeared to gradually change color, turning from silver to shades of orange and red. This is because some indirect sunlight still reaches the moon after passing through the Earth's atmosphere, which scatters blue light. Only red light strikes the moon, giving it an eerie crimson hue.

Since the moon passed close to the center of the Earth's shadow, the total eclipse phase was longer than usual, said NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

The entire eclipse lasted around 5 1/2 hours.

Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to watch with the naked eye.

Keith Gleason, who runs the Sommers-Bausch Observatory in Boulder, Colorado, is disappointed that he wouldn't have a ringside seat to the eclipse. The last total lunar eclipse visible from the U.S. occurred on Dec. 21, 2010, which coincided with winter solstice and was widely observed. Some 1,400 people showed up for a viewing party at the observatory.

"We had an absolutely glorious time," he said.

The next total lunar eclipse will fall on Dec. 10, with best viewing from Asia and Australia. The moon will be completely blotted out for 51 minutes. Only parts of the U.S. including Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest will catch a glimpse.

The rest of the continental U.S. will have to wait until April 15, 2014, to witness a total lunar eclipse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.