Super blood red moon seen across the world by experts and keen star-gazers
A total lunar eclipse pictured in Allaman, Switzerland, Jan 21, 2019. The entire eclipse was visible from North and South America, as well as parts of western Europe and north Africa. The phenomenon was referred to by some as a 'super blood wolf moon' being a combination of a 'blood moon' as, during the eclipse, only the sun rays refracted by the earth atmosphere are reflected from the moon surface and give it a reddish color, a 'supermoon' given the large apparent size of the moon due to its relative proximity to earth and finally a 'wolf moon', the name often given to the full moon in January. EPA-EFE/VALENTIN FLAURAUD
A view of the Blood Moon rising above the Sierra Zapaliname mountain range on Sunday, Jan 20, 2019 taken from the town of Saltillo in Coahuila state (México marking 2019's first total lunar eclipse vissible across North and South America and parts of Europa and Africa. EFE-EPA/Miguel Sierra
The so-called 'Super Blood Wolf Moon' is seen over the Church of Saint Nicholas in Prague, Czech Republic, Jan 21, 2019. The entire lunar eclipse was visible from North and South America, as well as parts of western Europe and north Africa. EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK
A composite image shows different phases of a total lunar eclipse (chronologically from left to right) in Allaman, Switzerland, Jan 21, 2019. The entire eclipse was visible from North and South America, as well as parts of western Europe and north Africa. EPA-EFE/VALENTIN FLAURAUD
A full moon rises on Jan 20, 2019 behind the statue of the apostle James, son of Zebedee, high above Santiago de Compostela's cathedral in Galicia (North West) hours before 2019's total eclipse blood moon, starting 4.33 h local time with a 62 minute total eclipse time period starting at 5.41h, ending at 6.47, according to data supplied by NASA. EPA- EFE/ Lavandeira jr
The moon fully shadowed by the Earth is seen above the castle of Salgo during a total lunar eclipse near Salgotarjan, some 109km northeast of Budapest, Hungary, Jan 21, 2019. EPA-EFE/PETER KOMKA HUNGARY OUT
Madrid, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- Astronomy experts and star-gazing aficionados around the world stayed up into the early hours on Monday to catch a glimpse of a rare phenomenon which tinged a large full moon blood red, an event that will not be repeated for almost three years.
The super blood wolf moon was due to a lunar eclipse where the Earth's atmosphere filters the sun's rays through the atmosphere, leaving only the color red's long wavelength visible, Mario Tafalla from Spain's National Astronomical Observatory told EFE.
“A ‘blood moon’ happens when Earth's moon is in full eclipse. While it has no special astronomical significance, the view in the sky is striking as the usually whitish moon becomes red or ruddy-brown,” said Space.com, an organization dedicated to publishing information on astronomy and space exploration.
A supermoon, Tafalla explained, was not an astronomical definition, rather a rare celestial event that gets its name from the fact that the Moon was near a perigee, its closest approach to the Earth, creating the impression that it was marginally bigger in the sky than usual.
The apparent lunar increase in size has more to do with reflected light passing through our atmosphere and acting like a magnifying glass when low over the horizon, he said.
A wolf moon is a name given to full moons observed in January.
A Lunar eclipse can be enjoyed with no astronomical instruments nor special looking glasses, such as those required to safely view solar eclipses.
"It was better to watch from a dark place, although the Moon glowed very bright and was seen even in major cities," the Spanish astronomer said.
The next total eclipse of the Moon is due on Nov 2021.