“See yonder fire! It is the moon
Slow rising o’er the eastern hill.
It glimmers on the forest tips,
And through the dewy foliage drips
In little rivulets of light,
And makes the heart in love with night.”
—— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow*
On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, the full moon had three spectacular features: i) It was the third in a series of supermoons. (The first two in the series were December 3, 2017 and January 2, 2018.) A full moon is called a supermoon when it gets closer to Earth in its orbit, causing it to appear larger and brighter than usual (aka as perigee). ii) It’s was the second full moon of a calendar month, commonly known as a blue moon. Referring to it as a blue moon has nothing to do with its color, rather to the rarity of two full moons occurring in a month, as in the phrase “once in a blue moon”. iii) The super blue moon passed through Earth’s shadow allowing moon watchers in the right location to view a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow, it takes on a reddish tint, known as a blood moon, as shown above in the time lapse video Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse 2010, shot by William Castleman from Gainesville, Florida on December 21, 2010.
WATCH Super Blue Blood Moon
All these things happening during the full moon — a supermoon, blue moon, total lunar eclipse, gave the world a chance to see a rare celestial event, a Super Blue Blood Moon, and the lunar eclipse was the star of the show. The view, however, was not the same around the globe as location and weather conditions are critical, and the next opportunity to experience the same lunar phenomena is the year 2037.
If you missed this special event or want to see it all again, a totally stunning Super Blue Blood Moon was captured by Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California (a perfect vantage point) during the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 31, 2018, and is available to view. Just click/tap the “Watch Again” button or select from the posts on the media player below ↓ Part 1 post is a recording of the total lunar eclipse from start to finish. Part 2 post is a recording of the final stage of the total lunar eclipse as the moon leaves Earth’s shadow.
In this silent time lapse video, the complete 2018 Super Blue Blood Moon eclipse can be seen over NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, located at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena, California, USA.
Here’s an On2In2™ moon lover’s guide to the traditions and pleasures of moon gazing, full moon calendars, and moonrise/moonset times and location tables for the best full moon viewing on Earth — Moon Gazing
Take a look at another special full moon — The Harvest Moon, and watch Full Moon Silhouettes, a real-time video by award winning photographer, Mark Gee, of the moon rising over the Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand
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Total Lunar Eclipse photo is courtesy of Jake Hills/Unsplash CC0
*The Longfellow quote is an excerpt taken from Christus, The Golden Legend (1872), Part VI, line 462