Tuesday 16 July 2019

Blood moon rising: Stargazers' joy at rare eclipse

Over the moon: A statue in Buenos Aires, Argentina appears ready to touch earth’s satellite. AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko
Over the moon: A statue in Buenos Aires, Argentina appears ready to touch earth’s satellite. AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko
Conor McCrave

Conor McCrave

Stargazers were treated to a showing of a rare "super blood wolf moon" on Sunday night - a phenomenon that won't be seen for another decade.

At around 5am, the Super 'Wolf' Moon aligned with the earth on one side and the sun on the other enveloping it in a rare red hue.

A full moon happens several times a year while lunar eclipses happen on average twice a year, making this event extra special.

The next time an event of this kind will happen is in almost 11 years, at the end of 2029, according to David Moore of Astronomy Ireland.

"It's a rarity of an event and its was over three years since we have had one that was entirely visible in Irish skies," he said.

"We got a good view of this one and it is 11 years before we will be seeing this again,"

While some parts of the country missed out due to overcast skies, photos splashed across social media showed many were handed front row seats to the showing.

And as the moon was up to 30pc brighter and up to 15pc closer to the earth, the eclipse became particularly visible for spectators.

Close encounter: The eclipse – pictured using a 12-and-a-half-inch telescope – was spectacular with the moon 15pc closer to earth than usual. AP photo
Close encounter: The eclipse – pictured using a 12-and-a-half-inch telescope – was spectacular with the moon 15pc closer to earth than usual. AP photo

"The Super Moon is different and special because of the orbit of the moon around the earth and because it isn't a perfect circle, it's egg-shaped," David explained.

"You see a lovely orange red halo which is all of the earth's sunsets and sunrises happening simultaneously around the earth.

"The earth is in one end of the egg so that means when the moon is 15pc closer in the orbit it can make the moon look 30pc brighter.

"It's a natural free spectacle - why wouldn't you watch?"

Irish Independent

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