The Super Blood Moon


In the night between the 27th and the 28th, the moon was eclipsed by the Earth.

An eclipse happens when a celestial body obscures another one, making it completely or partially shaded; in this case, the Earth and the moon were the two bodies concerned.

The rare and strange thing about this eclipse was that the moon was not eclipsed the way it usually is. During this eclipse, the moon was at the nearest place that it could have been to the Earth, so the details we could see were incredible.
However, this time it also appeared red to the terrestrials, which is why it was called “blood moon” - this term having been used for as long as eclipses have been recorded.

Why does the moon turn red?
The red colour of the moon is usually only seen during an eclipse. The reason behind this is exactly the same as to why the sun appears red during sunrise and sunset.
As we all know, the sun is always shining, so there is always a part of the Earth receiving sunlight. The illumination of the moon, on the other hand, depends on the position of our planet. When the Earth comes between the sun and the moon, sunrays fall on the surface of Earth, but they cannot reach the moon. The three bodies are in such a position that sunlight can barely reach the moon and to do so it has to pass through the atmosphere of the earth. This only happens during an eclipse.

When an eclipse occurs, the Earth's atmosphere scatters the light coming from the sun and the shorter wavelengths of colour -blue, purple, green, yellow- are blocked while the longest wavelength -red-, passes through the atmosphere, causing the red coloured shadow to appear on the moon. At sunrise and sunset light has to travel more atmospheric distance, therefore we see the sun as red. 


This same phenomenon will be observable again in Belgium in 2030.

by Axel Fjellman

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