Mideast skygazers catch glimpse of Super Blood Moon

The moon, appearing in a dim red colour, is covered by the Earth's shadow during a total lunar eclipse in Bogota. (Reuters)

Social media users across the Middle East posted images of a rare astronomical event on Sunday night, when a swollen "supermoon" and lunar eclipse combined for the first time in decades.

With its reddish tinge, the so-called “blood moon” was visible from the Americas, Europe, Africa, west Asia and the east Pacific. It was the result of the sun, Earth and a larger-than-life, extra-bright moon lining up for just over an hour.

Skygazers from the Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the UAE were among users posting images of the show in the Middle East.

In some areas in Egypt, the moon appeared in more of a copper rather than reddish tone, and in Saudi Arabia, the star appeared larger with no change in color in most pictures. The lunar eclipse was also caught in series of snaps.

In Dubai, however, and other areas of high fog and cloud density in the region, the spectacle was hard to see – although some skygazers were still able to catch a glimpse of the show around 3 a.m. local time.

During that moment of the astronomical event, the moon was at its closest orbital point to Earth, called perigee, while also in its brightest phase.

The resulting "supermoon" appeared 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than when at apogee, the farthest point -- which is about 31,000 miles (49,900 kilometers) from perigee.

Unusually, our planet took position in a straight line between the moon and the sun, blotting out the direct sunlight that normally makes our satellite glow whitish-yellow.

But some light still crept around Earth's edges and was filtered through its atmosphere, casting an eerie red light that creates the blood moon.

A man takes picture of the screen displaying the moon in Warsaw. (Reuters)

A man takes picture of the screen displaying the moon in Warsaw. (Reuters)

The moon travels to a similar position every month, but the tilt of its orbit means it normally passes above or below the Earth's shadow -- so most months have a full moon minus eclipse.

The last super blood moon, only the fifth recorded since 1900, was in 1982, according to the U.S. space agency NASA, and the next will not be until 2033.

(With AFP)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46