‘Great to see the enthusiasm:’ Super blue blood moon lights up the sky; clouds obscure view in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- Skygazers around the world were treated Wednesday, Jan. 31 to a rare celestial convergence dubbed a "super blue blood moon." In Milwaukee, our FOX6 Weather Experts warned us not to expect much of a show, but that didn't stop more than a dozen early risers from trekking up to a rooftop, hoping for a break in the clouds.

When it came to pulling her 5-year-old out of bed and into the cold, dark January night -- Kate Schwartz didn't think twice.

TOPSHOT - A person poses for a photo as the moon rises over Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California, on January 30, 2018. Many parts of the globe may catch a glimpse on january 31 of a giant crimson moon, thanks to a rare lunar trifecta that combines a blue moon, a super moon and a total eclipse. The spectacle, which NASA has coined a 'super blue blood moon.' / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Gary Cooper took these photos of the Supermoon on Wednesday morning over Jersey City, New Jersey.
He took the photos from across the Hudson River in Battery Park in Manhattan

"We decided this hasn't happened in many, many years, so we are going to do this," said Schwartz.

The cosmic event -- a combination of a lunar eclipse, blood moon and super moon -- was visible in the western hemisphere for the first time in 152 years.

That's why Schwartz and a dozen other eager stargazers climbed to the top of the Urban Ecology Center's Observation Deck.

"It's great to see the enthusiasm," said Bob Bonadurer, director of theater and planetarium.

Even when forecasters warned Mother Nature wasn't going to cooperate. A blustery breeze did its best -- but couldn't break up a blanket of clouds.

People in Australia, Asia and parts of Russia were treated to the lunar triple whammy during moon-rise on Jan. 31, while the show kicked off in North America from 5 a.m. CT.

Antonio Paris took this photo on Clearwater Beach in St. Petersburg, Florida.

"We've been eclipsed by our own weather," said Bonadurer.

But the night sky had plenty to offer.

"We saw Mars and Jupiter in the sky, the sunrise and just being with people celebrating this  fantastic universe we live in," said Bonadurer.

Took this shot from Chicago on Jan 31,2018. Photo captured by Sundar

What is a 'super blue blood moon?'

A "supermoon" occurs when a full moon falls at the same time as its perigee, which is the closest point of the moon's orbit with the Earth. This makes the moon larger and brighter by 14%, according to NASA. The first supermoon of 2018 took place on New Year's Day and was previously described by NASA as the "biggest and brightest" one expected for the entire year.

As the popular idiom suggests, blue moons are rare and refer to when there is a second full moon in one calendar month.

To complete the "lunar trifecta," the blood element is not a sign that the end is nigh, but occurs during a lunar eclipse when faint red sunbeams peek out around the edges of the Earth, giving it a reddish copper color.

There are usually a couple of lunar eclipses each year so if you did miss it this time around, the next one will happen on July 27 -- though it won't be visible in North America. It'll be a long wait for skywatchers in the US as Johnston predicts the next visible lunar eclipse will be on Jan. 21, 2019.