BANGKOK – Millions of people were waiting to witness on Wednesday a rare combination of celestial events known as a super blue blood moon, comprising a blue moon, a super moon and a blood moon.
A blue moon is the second full moon in a month, a super moon occurs when the moon is closer to the Earth than usual, and a blood moon is when the moon appears to be red during an eclipse.
The phenomena will be visible in parts of North America, Asia and Oceania.
Depending on the atmospheric conditions, stargazers will be able to see the moon stained a deep red color.
Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon.
During a total lunar eclipse, the entire moon falls within the shadow although it does not disappear from sight and becomes tinged with a copper hue, which has led some to dub it a “blood moon.”
This happens because the moon reflects the red light of the sun refracted by the Earth’s atmosphere, which only filters the blue components.
The eclipse will coincide with a “super moon,” when the moon reaches its closest point to Earth.
The third celestial event occurring simultaneously across a large part of the planet will be the second full moon of the month – what is called the “blue moon” even though it has nothing to do with this color – a phenomenon that happens on average about once every 2.7 years.
The total eclipse will hit its peak around 1329 GMT Wednesday and the best places to observe it will be at dawn in the western United States, in the Pacific Islands and at dusk in East Asia and Oceania.
According to NASA, two total lunar eclipses will occur in 2018 – one on Jan. 31 and the other on July 27.