The moon put on a rare cosmic show on Wednesday: a red “blue moon,” super big and super bright. It was the first time in 35 years that a “blue moon” has synced up with a “supermoon” and a total lunar eclipse, or “blood moon” because of its red hue.
Hawaii and Alaska had the best seats, along with the Canadian Yukon, Australia and much of Asia. The western US also had good viewing, along with Russia.
At the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, hundreds gathered on the lawn in the wee hours under clear skies. Traffic was backed up more than a kilometer around the observatory. Stargazers also lined the beach near the Santa Monica Pier, some snapping photographs and others reclining in the sand, their faces turned upward.
Visual effects artist John Cook joined fellow photography enthusiasts at the pier, using the ferris wheel and roller coaster for his foreground.
“It was incredible,” he said.
Photographers also gathered at the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, striving to get the famous Coit Tower in their moon shots.
In San Francisco’s Marina district, a crowd gathered to watch the “super blue blood moon,” as NASA calls it, set over the Golden Gate Bridge. Spectators got lucky: There were clear skies and no trace of the city’s famous fog.
“It’s very cinematic, the way the moon is changing colors and reflecting on the water,” said Clara Cambon, who arrived about 5:30am with her husband.
On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, where it was already nightfall, hundreds descended on the Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho complex, where telescopes and binoculars were plentiful. A TV monitor showed zoom-in views of the moon and a university professor gave a run-down as the eclipse unfolded.
“It’s wonderful to be at this precious event and to have been able to see the moon looking so beautiful,” visitor Mayumi Kimura said.
The US East Coast, Europe and most of South America and Africa were out of luck for the total eclipse.
At Cape Canaveral, Florida, where a rocket delivered the US’ first satellite — Explorer 1 — to orbit exactly 60 years earlier the blue super moon loomed large in the sky.
The second full moon in a calendar month is a blue moon. This one also happened to be an especially close and bright moon, or supermoon. Add a total eclipse, known as a blood moon for its red tint, and it was a lunar showstopper.
NASA called it a lunar trifecta: the first super blue blood moon since 1982. That combination will not occur again until 2037. For those looking ahead, the next supermoon is in February, the next blue moon is in March and the next total lunar eclipse is in July, according to NASA.
NASA lunar scientist Noah Petro said he was astonished — and thrilled — by all the attention and fuss, adding that the total solar eclipse that swept across the US in August contributed to Wednesday’s buzz.
Missing out on the eclipse from his home in Virginia, he watched the event online Wednesday morning with his two children, ages three and seven.
“I hope that people use this as an opportunity to dig in a little more and learn about our own planet, our wonderful sister planet, the moon, and the sun and all the other great objects in the solar system,” Petro said on his way to work at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
A total lunar eclipse — considered the most scientific of Wednesday’s threesome — occurs when the sun, Earth and moon line up perfectly, casting Earth’s shadow on the moon.
Scientists were keen to study the sharp, sudden drop in temperature at the lunar surface as Earth’s shadow blankets the moon.
During the more than one hour of totality, the temperature plunged 38°C, Petro said.
He is deputy project scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the moon since 2009.
His team took special precautions to keep the spacecraft warm during the eclipse.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year