Rare ‘super blue blood moon’ dazzles skygazers
Skygazers across the world were treated Wednesday to a rare celestial convergence dubbed a “super blue blood moon.”
The cosmic event — a combination of lunar eclipse, blood moon and super moon — was visible in the western hemisphere for the first time in 152 years.
People in Australia, Asia and parts of Russia were treated to the lunar triple whammy during moonrise on January 31, while the show kicked off in North America from 5:51 a.m. ET.
Sadly, the super blue blood moon was not visible in western Europe or most of Africa and South America, but CNN compiled the following photos photos and videos from people who were able to witness the eclipse.
Shirley Tomioka took a photo of the lunar convergence from her terrace in Tokyo, Japan.
Joe Stuart took this incredible 15 minute time-lapse from his house in Melbourne in Australia. He told CNN: “It was amazing, it looked like it was popping out of the sky!”
Richard Tuffin told CNN he witnessed the spectacle with his two daughters at 8:00 p.m. in Canberra, Australia, watching together as the moon rose high into the sky.
Across the globe in the US, Drew Carlisle drove 45 minutes to North Carolina to the top of a ramp, where he took this timelapse of the super moon rising behind the Bank of America tower.
In Brooklyn, Jennifer Khordi took this picture-perfect photo a little after 7:00 a.m. ET.
Mitch Dean braved the bitter cold on the roof to take in the eclipse, and had the added bonus of a clear sky from his apartment in New York.
Jacqui Beven battled through the mosquitoes to get this photo of the moon rising over the Rubicon River in Tasmania’s Narawntapu National Park.
Dennis Doucet sat outside in near-freezing temperatures to get this phenomenal photo of the moon over Kobe, Japan.
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 January 21, 2019.