Super blood wolf moon: Lunar eclipse stuns skygazers – if they were able to see it

It's the last opportunity to see the bright red moon until 2021

Andrew Griffin
Monday 21 January 2019 10:35
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Blood Moon 2018: the longest lunar eclipse of the century

Skygazers across the UK and the rest of the world have been delighted by a rare "super blood wolf moon" – if they could see it.

It was the last chance to spot a lunar eclipse, where the moon turns a bloody red, until 2021. In theory, the effect could be seen across much of the world, as the Earth moved between the sun and the moon and cased the bright spectacle.

But only some parts of the UK were under clear enough skies to actually see the sky in the morning, leaving some people waiting years for another chance to see a blood moon.

Catching a glimpse of the curiously-titled event was down to luck for those wrapping up and heading out early, as many parts of the country were covered by cloud on Monday morning.

Met Office forecaster Mark Wilson said: "There's a lot cloud around, but there are some breaks to enjoy the lunar eclipse as well.

"Across lots of central England and northern England there's quite a lot of lower cloud around, but there are still some breaks in cloud particularly over south-east England and parts of south-west England as well.

"It's kind of a mixed bag - further towards the north there's more in the way of cloud as well affecting parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, so probably not great visibility up there unfortunately."

A super blood wolf moon occurs when a blood moon and supermoon happen simultaneously and was best seen from the UK at around 5.10am - providing clouds did not obstruct the view.

The optimum viewing time was at around 5.12am when the eclipse was at its peak.

Astronomers are particularly interested in this year's blood moon as it is the last of its kind for two years.

"We're going into this unusual lull in total lunar eclipses over the next couple of years," explained Tom Kerss, an astronomer from the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

"So this is a really good one to catch as it's going to be a long time before you catch another one like this, we will have other lunar eclipses, we just won't have anything quite as spectacular until May 2021."

While the supermoon and blood moon titles come from the brightness and reddish hue respectively, a full moon in January is sometimes called a "wolf" moon.

Additional reporting by agencies

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