Super blue blood moon a rare astronomical treat

Lena Tucker
February 3, 2018

Peter Komka/MTI via AP The moon rises in a rare phenomena that combines a supermoon, a Blue Moon and a total lunar eclipse as seen in Legazpi city, Albay province around 200 miles (340 kilometers) southeast of Manila, Philippines Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.

A remarkably rare celestial event, known as a super blue blood moon, has sent photographers scrabbling for their cameras.

Paul Taylor's stunning view from Hawke's Bay caught the eye of many on Facebook.

The celestial event was also visible from elsewhere in India and many other parts of the world.

"I'm calling it the Super Bowl of moons", lunar scientist Noah Petro said Monday from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

It was the first time in 35 years that a blue moon synced up with a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse, or blood moon as it's called due to its red hue.

"We only get eclipses when the orbital plane of the moon is in-line with both the Earth and the sun", Taylor said.

The super moon rises over Istanbul on January 31, 2018. The eclipse continued through 11:08 p.m.at which point the moon started escaping from the earth's shadow.

Astronomers say that the conditions which governed tonight's appearance of the moon are incredibly rare.

The extreme east of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Russia, Australia and New Zealand could enjoy the spectacle on Wednesday night, weather depending, as the Moon rose there.

"It was great that the Astronomical Society brought their equipment for people to see this incredible event first hand", she said.

A blue moon happens when there are two full moons in the same calendar month.

As for the supermoon, the term refers to when a full moon coincides with the moon being closest to earth.

Last night the moon was a little over 358,000km distant from Earth.

For the trivia crowd, the moon was 360,200 kilometres away at the peak of the eclipse, close enough for supermoon status, according to NASA.

The total lunar eclipse of December 10, 1992, was so dark that for a while the moon appeared to have vanished altogether and the sky was as dark as that on a new moon night, Paranjpye added.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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