Early this morning, January 31st, an astrological rarity occurred. A super moon, a blue moon, and a lunar eclipse all lined up for a truly once-in-a-blue-moon phenomenon.
The convergence of these three lunar events was nicknamed a “super blue blood moon.” The last time this happened was in 1982, and we’ll have to wait 20 years for the next one, which will take place in 2037.
A blue moon is when two full moons occur in the same month. This lunar phenomenon happens every two or three years, so while it’s unusual, it’s not nearly as incredible as the recent lunar trifecta. Meanwhile, a supermoon refers to a moon that looks more vivid than usual. The January 31st supermoon appeared 7 percent larger and 15 percent brighter than the average full moon. The phrase “blood moon” is often used to refer to the reddish hue the moon takes on during a lunar eclipse.
The show began around 5:50 a.m. ET and continued for one hour and 16 minutes. Residents of Australia, the Middle East, and Asia were able to view the eclipse earlier in the night, as the moon was first rising.
On the East Coast the moon had set before the eclipse reached totality. But on the West Coast, the blood moon hit its peak at 5:30 a.m. PT, making the Western U.S. a better viewing location.
NASA Live streamed the event, using footage from the Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, the Griffith Observatory in L.A., and the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter Observatory at the University of Arizona. You can still view footage from the stream on Youtube.
Luckily, for those of us who missed it, Twitter users captured the lunar eclipse on film.
And NASA also documented the eclipse live from the Twitter account NASA Moon.
The super blue blood moon was an incredible phenomenon, and we’re glad we were able to experience it. We’re already looking forward to the next lunar eclipse.