Sunday 24 February 2019

Super blood wolf moon stuns star gazers lucky enough to avoid cloud: 'If you didn't see it this morning you've a long wait again'

The Moon is seen during a lunar eclipse in Helsinki, Finland January 21, 2019. Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari/via REUTERS
The Moon is seen during a lunar eclipse in Helsinki, Finland January 21, 2019. Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari/via REUTERS
People monitor the moon ahead of a total lunar eclipse in Vienna, Austria, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
The moon is seen over "Victoria Alada" statue on the top of Metropoli building during a total lunar eclipse, known as the "Super Blood Wolf Moon" in Madrid, Spain, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
The moon is seen beside statues on top of the Cinquantenaire arch during a total lunar eclipse, known as the "Super Blood Wolf Moon", in Brussels, Belgium January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
The "super blood wolf moon" is seen behind an Orthodox church during a lunar eclipse in the village of Turets, Belarus January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
The "super blood wolf moon" is seen during a lunar eclipse in the village of Turets, Belarus January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
The "Super Blood Wolf Moon" is seen near a statue during a lunar eclipse on Brussels' Grand Place, Belgium, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
A super blood wolf moon next to the eye of one of The Kelpies near Falkirk during a lunar eclipse. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
The moon is seen through an illuminated tree during a total lunar eclipse, known as the "Super Blood Wolf Moon", in Aegidienberg near Bonn, Germany, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

If you weren't lucky enough to catch the super blood wolf moon eclipse this morning, you'll have to wait until 2029, Ireland's best known astronomer has advised.

Skygazers lucky enough to be under clear skies were treated to the astronomical spectacle of a "super blood wolf moon" this morning.

The rare phenomenon, caused in part by a lunar eclipse, makes the surface of the moon appear a reddish hue while seeming brighter and closer to earth than normal.

Astronomers had encouraged people to take a day off school or work if necessary, to be able to be awake see the eclipse.

Speaking on RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland after the phenomenon, Astronomy Ireland's David Moore said it seemed the further south people were this morning, the less hampered they were by the clouds.

A super blood wolf moon occurs when a blood moon and supermoon occur simultaneously and was best seen just after 5am, providing clouds did not obstruct the view.

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

"The red colour comes from all the earth's sunrises and sunsets," David Moore said

"The halo is all of the sunrises and sunsets contributing to the glow.

"It is actually 100,000 times dimmer than the full moon itself."

The moon is seen beside statues on top of the Cinquantenaire arch during a total lunar eclipse, known as the
The moon is seen beside statues on top of the Cinquantenaire arch during a total lunar eclipse, known as the "Super Blood Wolf Moon", in Brussels, Belgium January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Mr Moore said any stargazers this morning would have witnessed a bright moonlight turning to almost pitch darkness in less than an hour.

"A few eclipses have been partial or total just as the moon is rising or setting, but to witness a full eclipse like that above the horizon in Ireland again, it'll be December 2029. If you didn't see it this morning you've a long wait," he added.

A super blood wolf moon next to the eye of one of The Kelpies near Falkirk during a lunar eclipse. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A super blood wolf moon next to the eye of one of The Kelpies near Falkirk during a lunar eclipse. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

There were spectacular views of the moon around the world this morning, including in France, Spain and Australia.

But some parts of Ireland were covered by cloud on Monday morning.

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."

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