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A “Super Blue Blood Moon” makes its show Wednesday

Ⓒ AFP – JOSH EDELSON – | The Super Moon seen in San Francisco, California on
January 31, 2018

Close, fat, and “sanguine”: a total lunar eclipse
particularly rare by its size offered Wednesday an impressive
and visible spectacle of a good part of the globe, called
“Super Blue Blood Moon”.

In the middle of the night, thousands of people gathered in
California to see the moon disappear, deprived of the rays of
the sun, before reappearing tinged with red, hence its name
“moon of blood”. It is also called “blue” because it is the
second full moon in a month, a name that refers to the rarity
of the phenomenon (it occurs on average only every two and a
half years) but not the everything to its color.

Some had waited more than five hours with the hope of
finding a good place in the heart of the Griffith Observatory
in Los Angeles, which opened at 3.30 am to welcome some 2.000
spectators.

The eclipse finally began around 3:45 (11H45GMT), a dark
shadow starting to nibble the white moon. An hour later, she
was plunged into the dark and then, as it unfolded again,
coppery hues have colored its surface.

The show was to be admired from North America, Russia, Asia
and the Pacific Ocean. Most of Europe, Africa and South
America, however, was deprived of the show by sunlight.

Ⓒ AFP – Robyn Beck – | The moon over Los Angeles, January 30, 2018

In North America, Alaska or Hawaii, the eclipse was visible
before sunrise. In the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Russia,
Australia and New Zealand, the show was taking place at sunrise
on the evening of Wednesday. A show that, unlike solar
eclipses, does not require goggles to be admired.

– ‘Rare Gift’ –

Ⓒ AFP – Luis ROBAYO – | The full moon in Cali, Colombia, January 30,
2018

The red hue of the moon, which does not produce its own
light, results from a luminous phenomenon: the rays of the sun
which cross the terrestrial atmosphere are “diffused”
(reflected, ed), with the exception of the red rays.

“The red color that appears during a lunar eclipse is very
special, it’s a rare gift to be able to observe a blood moon,”
says Brian Rachford, associate professor of physics at the
American University of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical.

This eclipse was particularly expected because the moon had
“three specificities at once,” confirms the Observatory of
Paris on its site: not only “blue” and “blood”, it was also
“Super”!

“Super”, because the star is very close to the Earth this
Wednesday.

The eclipse occurred only 27 hours after the moon reached
its closest orbital point to our planet, called the perigee. It
then appeared a little bigger than usual, “about 7% compared to
an average Moon, which will make it easier to distinguish with
the naked eye the dark areas and contrasts”, provided the l
Observatory of Paris.

The last “Blue Super Moon of Blood” had occurred on December
30, 1982 and had been visible in Europe, Africa and West
Asia.

For North America, we must go back to
152 years, March 31, 1866, according to the annals.

The next similar phenomenon is scheduled for January 31,
2037.

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