Star gazers around the world kept their eyes turned to the sky overnight in a bid to catch a glimpse of the spectacular ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’.
The unusual set of celestial circumstances came together for skywatchers in Europe, Africa and the Americas from Sunday night and into Monday where a total lunar eclipse offered a view of a large, red moon.
Cloudy skies had initially threatened to ruin the total lunar eclipse for those in Britain and the U.S. but astronomy buffs were able to see the moon turn a striking red color.
The best view of the lunar eclipse for those in the UK was scheduled to take place at 5.12am (GMT), while the moon was to appear its most red for Americans at 11.41pm (EST).
The full Moon will appear bigger than normal because it is closer to the Earth – about 222,000 miles (358,000 kilometers) away – which earns it the nickname ‘super Moon.’
CALIFORNIA: A total lunar eclipse that is called a ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’ is seen from Encinitas, California late on Sunday
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: A supermoon rises behind the downtown Los Angeles skyline on Sunday as star gazers around the world kept their eyes turned to the sky overnight in a bid to catch a glimpse of the spectacular ‘super blood wolf moon’
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: A lunar eclipse progresses behind the ‘Monumento a la Carta Magna y Las Cuatro Regiones Argentinas’ in Buenos Aires, Argentina early Monday morning
Other monikers include a ‘Wolf Moon,’ a traditional way of coining an eclipse in the month of January, and a ‘Blood Moon’ because of its rusty, red color. Hence the name for this year’s event: a ‘super blood wolf Moon.’
It earned the name wolf moon given it appears in January when wolves howled in hunger outside villages.
The spectacular total lunar eclipse is visible with the naked eye. Unlike a solar eclipse, which requires eye protection to safely enjoy the view, no extra measures need to be taken for hazard-free lunar eclipse watching.
Given the bad weather forecast, star gazers were urged to witness the celestial wonder livestreamed online to avoid missing it.
Astronomers were particularly interested in this year’s blood moon, which will hang in skies above the northern hemisphere, as it is the last of its kind for two years.
‘We’re going into this unusual lull in total lunar eclipses over the next couple of years,’ explained Tom Kerss, an astronomer from the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
‘So this is a really good one to catch as it’s going to be a long time before you catch another one like this, we will have other lunar eclipses, we just won’t have anything quite as spectacular until May 2021.’
LIVERPOOL, UK: A total lunar eclipse colors the lunar surface a reddish hue at the same time it appears brighter and closer to earth than normal. It is pictured above over Liverpool
Star gazers in some parts of the globe kept their eyes turned to the sky overnight in a bid to catch a glimpse of the spectacular ‘super blood wolf moon’. Pictured above is a composite of the moon changing color as seen from the U.S.
BRAZIL: The lunar eclipse progresses behind the ‘Memrial JK,’ a monument in honor of the founder of Brasilia, Brazil, on Monday
MEXICO: The so-called Super Blood Wolf Moon slips into Earth’s dark umbral shadow during a total lunar eclipse over Angel de la Independencia in Mexico City on Sunday night
This will be the last time that sky watchers in the UK will be able to experience a total lunar eclipse until 2029.
The next chance for Americans to see a total lunar eclipse is 2022.
A blood moon last occurred in July 2018, though clouds largely obscured the celestial phenomenon in the UK.
The entire eclipse was expected to last around five hours and could be watched in parts of Europe, America and Africa.
Spectators around the world were expecting to see a trio of celestial events intertwine to create a spectacular total lunar eclipse in the coming days.
The first full moon of the year is known as the Wolf Moon.
When the Earth’s shadow completely blankets the moon, this causes its surface to turn red as it enters the planet’s shade, known as a Blood Moon.
CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND: The Wolf Moon rising above Ely Cathedral on Sunday. The first Full Moon of the year is named after howling wolves
LONDON, ENGLAND: The ‘Blood Moon’ rises behind The City and St Paul’s Cathedral in London ahead of its eclipse in the early morning, viewed from Hungerford Bridge on the River Thames
The moon will also be slightly closer to the Earth, causing it to appear brighter than usual, dubbed a Super Moon.
These unique factors, when combined, result in a ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’.
The eclipse should be visible in North and South America, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and the French and Spanish coasts.
Many lunar eclipse festivities were canceled due to a flash freeze across the central and northeastern US states on Sunday.
Days earlier, it seemed the biggest threat to the cosmic fun was cloudy skies but it turned out a wet, wide-ranging snowstorm followed by a deep freeze on Sunday made driving and outdoor activities too hazardous.
Eclipse parties were canceled from Indiana’s Lemon Lake County Park to New Jersey’s Rowan University.
The rest of Europe, as well as Africa, will be able to see a partial view of the eclipse, while Asia, Australia and New Zealand will miss the spectacle.
WHAT IS A LUNAR ECLIPSE?
An eclipse occurs any time a planet or moon passes between another planet, moon or the sun.
Depending on their orbits, they can be total or partial.
A lunar eclipse is a specific event which happens when Earth lines up directly between the sun and the moon.
When this happens, Earth blocks the light from the sun to the moon. Earth’s shadow then falls on the moon.
During a lunar eclipse, we can see Earth’s shadow on the moon.
They can last for several hours, but it is rare for a period of total eclipse to last longer than 100 minutes.
At least two lunar eclipses happen every year.
The moon will also be slightly closer to the Earth, causing it to appear brighter than usual, dubbed a Super Moon. These unique factors, when combined, result in a ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’. This graphic shows how a lunar eclipse occurs