Sky-gazers were in for a rare treat beginning Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 5:30 a.m. EST when three celestial events combine to create a super blue blood moon. NASA Television and the agency’s website provided live coverage of the event.
This event offered a rare opportunity to see a supermoon, a blue moon and a lunar eclipse at the same time.
A supermoon occurs when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit and appears about 14 percent brighter than usual. As the second full moon of the month, this moon is also commonly known as a blue moon, though it is not blue in appearance.
The super blue moon passes through Earth’s shadow and take on a reddish tint, known as a blood moon.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and a full moon form a near-perfect lineup in space. The total phase of the eclipse last 1 hour and 16 minutes. The whole process takes more than four hours.
The last total lunar eclipse occurred Sept. 27-28, 2015. The next total lunar eclipse visible across North America will occur Jan. 21, 2019.