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Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse Crosses the Sky

Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse Crosses the Sky
A rare occurrence called a 'super blue blood moon' is seen behind the U.S. flag at Santa Monica Beach in Santa Monica, California, on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 31 January 2018 09:47 AM

A rare so-called "super blue blood moon" eclipse crossed the sky Wednesday morning, giving viewers a rare treat.

People on the West Coast and the middle of the country had the best view of the super blue blood moon matched with an eclipse, with totality beginning on the West Coast at 4:51 a.m. Pacific time and lasting until about 6:07 a.m., Time magazine noted.

A blue moon refers to the second full moon in a singular calendar month, according to the website EarthSky.org. That event happens once every 2½ years with the first full moon of January happening on New Year's Day.

A total lunar eclipse is an event when the Earth shadow completely covers the moon, Space.com noted. NASA says such eclipses are often called "blood moons" because they seem to appear with a reddish hue because of the way the atmosphere bends the light.

A supermoon is an occurrence where the moon is at or near its closest point in its orbit to the Earth when the full moon happens, making it look 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than average full moons, NASA said.

"You've got this wonderful combination," Brian Day, the education/public outreach lead at NASA's Ames Research Center, told National Public Radio. "It's just loading up the plate with all the wonderful things the moon can show us."

Time said the U.S. East Coast, eastern South America, western Africa and parts of Europe did not get a clear view of this lunar eclipse, it was clear in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand.

Space.com said this was the first total lunar eclipse since 2015 and the first blue moon/blood moon visible in the United States since 1866.

NASA scientists told NPR that the way the moon's surface responds during the eclipse can provide some clue as to where to land a rover for a future mission, exposing surface temperature changes during the event.

"… When you have a total eclipse, you get that sudden darkening of the surface, you go from having the sun directly overhead the surface of the moon to suddenly being dark," Day told NPR. "And so you get a real sudden temperature change. That's interesting to us because different types of materials on the moon will heat up and cool down differently."

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Sky watchers got a rare treat Wednesday morning as a "super blue blood moon" eclipse crossed the sky.
super, blue, blood, moon, eclipse
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2018-47-31
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 09:47 AM
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