May 16, 2022
Astronomers were treated to an astonishing and unusual sight last night: a super Blood Moon.
Shortly after 0330 GMT on Monday, Earth’s orbit caused our planet to be directly between the Sun and the Moon for several minutes.
Meanwhile, the Moon has fallen completely into Earth’s shadow, temporarily turning it a dark shade of dark red.
To read especially on BBC Africa:
This hue was created by sunlight shone through Earth’s atmosphere onto the shadowed surface of the Moon.
The lunar eclipse coincided with another event: a supermoon. This is when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit and therefore appears larger than usual.
Those watching the Super Blood Moon had the best view starting at 03:29 GMT, when the total lunar eclipse began and the event became visible in the Western Hemisphere.
For nearly an hour and a half thereafter, the only sunlight reaching the Moon passed through Earth’s atmosphere, turning it red.
In Europe, the phenomenon was only visible during part of this period, because the Moon was beginning to set. But in America, areas under clear skies were given a full show.
“You’ll actually see all the sunrises and sunsets happening around the Earth at the same time. All that light will be shone onto the Moon,” says Dr Gregory Brown, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. , before the event.
“If you were an astronaut standing on the Moon, looking down at Earth, you would see a red ring circling our planet,” he told the BBC.