A rare lunar spectacle was witnessed across the world on Wednesday as for the first time in decades, a total lunar eclipse coincided with a “supermoon” on the full moon night. Since it is the second full moon night in January, it is also a blue moon. Moon enthusiasts call such a celestial event a “super blue blood moon” as the moon has a reddish tint at the peak of a total lunar eclipse.
In India, this will be seen for the first time in 35 years, while in the United States, this last happened 152 years ago.
A supermoon is when the moon is at its largest and brightest when seen from earth, because it is as close to the planet as it can be in its orbit. Since the earth is far from the centre of the moon’s elliptical orbit, it offers the moon the chance to be 14% brighter and 7% larger than usual when it is at its “perigee” – the point where it is closest to earth.
In India, the eclipse started around 5.18 pm. It was a total eclipse from 6.21 pm to 7.37 pm, and the moon will come out of the shadow completely around 8.40 pm. This is the third of a “supermoon trilogy” in the last two months – the other two were on December 3 and January 1.
A blood moon appears dusky red and its name apparently comes from a Biblical prophecy that says it is an omen of the advent of the end times comes. As with supermoon, the term became popular only in 2014.