HAVE you ever seen the striking combination of a Supermoon, a Blue Moon and a Blood Moon?
Here is the science behind the Super Blue Blood Moon and when the last one appeared in the sky.
Getty – Contributor A Blood Moon is a pretty sight to behold
What is a Super Blue Blood Moon?
Fans of the lunar calendar were pumped for January 31, 2018, when this rare celestial event graced our skies.
A Blue Moon and lunar eclipse combined with the moon being at its closest point to Earth (a Supermoon), which resulted in a Super Blue Blood Moon.
The January 31 full moon was the second in the month meaning it is termed a Blue Moon.
The rare event was last seen in Europe in 1982, while US audiences had not witnessed it for a remarkable 152 years.
A Super Blue Blood Moon happens when a Blue Moon occurs at the same time as both a Supermoon and a Blood Moon.
Here’s what the three elements are:
Blue Moon – this is the name given to the second full moon in a calendar month although it has nothing to do with the moon being a blue colour
Supermoon – a full moon that is within 226,000 miles of Earth
Blood Moon – this is when the full moon is in total eclipse and appears reddish in colour
The rare event means the next Super Blue Blood Moon is not expected until January 31, 2037.
How long did the 2018 Super Blue Blood Moon last and was there a live stream?
The event was visible from the western hemisphere, but unfortunately not from our shores due to it happening when it was daylight in the UK.
Brits unable to watch in person could get a glimpse from a live stream.
Those in the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, the US, Australia and New Zealand caught the event during moonrise on January 31, 2018.
It began at 10.51am GMT, with the moon totally submerged in the umbral shadow by 12.51pm.
The moon totally emerged from the dark, red shadow at 3.11pm GMT.
Rex Features Supermoons regularly occur in the lunar calendar
What is a Supermoon?
It wasn’t until 1979 that Richard Nolle first defined the Supermoon, which is now a widely-used term.
The astrologer explained that the phenomenon is “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.”
Based on Nolle’s theory, the moon would have to be 226,000 miles away from the Earth to be considered ‘super’.
Because of its relatively close proximity to the Earth, the celestial body’s surface appears a lot bigger when a supermoon occurs.
What is a full moon?
This spectacle occurs when the earth comes directly between the sun and the moon.
It happens every 29 and a half days, and each month’s full moon has a special name.
This is because Native American tribes kept track of the months of the year by the lunar calendar.
Alamy Live News A blue moon seen in the night sky
What is the difference between a Supermoon and a Blue Moon?
A Blue Moon is the name of any month’s second full moon – an event that only occurs once every three years.
The next Blue Moon is on May 18, 2019.
It led to people coining the phrase “once in a blue moon”, meaning something that doesn’t happen very often.
A Supermoon is when the full moon is closest to earth – so the two can coincide making a Super Blue Moon.
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What is a Blood Moon?
The term Blood Moon isn’t a scientific term but one coined colloquially.
It refers to a total lunar eclipse because, when the moon is completely eclipsed it takes on a reddish colour.
During this eclipse direct sunlight is completely blocked by the earth’s shadow.
The only light that can be seen is refracted through the earth’s shadow, and this light looks red just like with the sunset.
Nasa video explains the natural phenomenon behind the Super Blue Blood Moon and Lunar Eclipse