Today’s “super blue blood moon”: Readers’ photos and videos

When I walked to work this morning, I had my eyes fixed on the moon, which was right before me as I headed west. I knew that there was an eclipse of the moon, and it was taking place when I was commuting on foot; but I didn’t see a red moon or anything, though it looked very bright. Later I found out that Chicago was not the best place to see this morning’s “super blue blood moon.”  Let me use NPR to explain so I don’t have to paraphrase other people’s words:

The moon is full, and it’s the second full moon of the calendar month, which has been termed a blue moon. The moon is on a 28-day cycle, so that happens only once in a while – or, as you might say, once in a blue moon.

Next, the moon is known as a supermoon because it’s especially close to the Earth, making it appear larger and brighter than usual. The moon doesn’t orbit Earth in a perfect circle – it’s an ellipse, which means there are times during the orbit that it is thousands of miles closer to Earth than others. Brian Day of NASA’s Ames Research Center tells NPR that during these times, the moon can “appear 17 percent larger than it does at its furthest point in its orbit.”

Most interesting to scientists, however, is that this is all coinciding with a total lunar eclipse. That’s why this is also called a blood moon, Day says: “As the moon makes this close, full moon approach to the Earth, it’s going to pass through the Earth’s shadow and the Earth’s shadow is going to cause the moon to appear a deep red color.”

“You’ve got this wonderful combination,” Day says. “It’s just loading up the plate with all the wonderful things the moon can show us.”

Well some readers or friends of readers saw a red moon, and I’m still collecting readers’ photos of the event. [JAC: We have enough photos now–thanks to all!]

Here are photos from two people and a video from one. The first is from reader Ryan:

I asked my friend Matthew if I could give his pictures of the lunar eclipse to you and he agreed. His instagram account is here, where he posts photos—mostly of Hong Kong, but also of some other places.

Here are two of Matthew’s pictures:

Reader Rick Longworth took a video:

Here’s my video of the supermoon/bloodmoon.  No eclipse was visible in the northeast. I was unable to get a moonrise shot, which could have been impressively red.  This was taken when the moon was almost straight over head at Poughkeepsie, New York at 1:30 PM, January 31, 2018. Panasonic GH3, Panasonic 20mm lens, Vortex Razor spotting scope. Music: Auburn Symphony Orchestra.

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From reader Nicole:

From Bob Fritz:

Here are a couple shots I took this morning of the lunar eclipse from Southern California. The wider photo also shows the “Beehive Cluster” – M44 – on the right side.  This is a nearby open star cluster approximately 520-610 light years from Earth (according to Wikipedia).
Both pictures were taken with a Sony A7R2 using a Canon 100-400 lens.

From Joe Dickinson:

Here are three shots taken at 4:07, 5:07 and 7:04 Pacific time.  The last, obviously is just about at moonset.

From reader Stuart Robbins, a lovely landscape with red Moon:

And a fuzzy photo, but still red, from reader Stephen Caldwell:

I got a shot with my iPhone after I got off work here in Little Rock.

22 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been reading a lot of poetry lately. So this struck me (I added carriage returns and remove a couple commas):

    When I walked to work this morning
    I had my eyes fixed on the moon
    which is right before me as I head west
    I knew that there was an eclipse of the moon

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Or how about:

      When I walked to work this morning,
      I had my eyes fixed on the moon,
      which is right before me as I head west.

      I knew that there was an eclipse of the moon,
      and it was taking place when I was commuting on foot;
      but I didn’t see a red moon or anything,
      though it looked very bright

  2. Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    …and the sky WAS cloudy all day!
    and all bleeding night.
    …have to wait another 30 odd years, if i last that long.
    It is my understanding the reason the shadow is red, is the full spectrum of light from the sun gets scattered in the earths atmosphere, leaving only red to cast the shadow.
    The moon also undergoes a temperature drop which scientist can use to ‘know’ something about the particles on it’s surface, no idea what.

    • allison
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      There will be another total lunar eclipse in July, and then another next January. They happen quite frequently.

      • Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        yes… was thinking more of the three for the price of one deal.

        • David Evans
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          A “blue moon” is just an artifact of the calendar – not worth waiting 30 years for. I don’t understand the media fuss about it.

  3. allison
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    What are the criteria for a “super moon” – is a “super moon” just a full moon occurring when the moon is closer to Earth than its average distance? If so, then half of all full moons would be “super moons” – which would seem to approximate the rate at which the popular media have hyped up “super moons” in recent years.

    To correct one item in the NPR article – the moon takes about 29.5 days to orbit the Earth, not 28.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Approx 25% of full Moons are Supermoons & by convention it’s defined as: a full Moon that’s closer than 359k km** to Earth. I have no idea why a convention for this is useful. 🙂

      When suppermoons happen we get around 3 of them in consecutive months – thus the previous two supermoons were immediately before this one on Jan 2nd, 2018 and Dec 3rd, 2017.
      SOURCE

      ** The Earth-Moon distance is measured centre to centre:
      356,500 km [221,500 mi] at perigee to 406,700 km [252,700 mi] at apogee

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Suppermoons – I haven’t eaten today yet!

  4. Christopher
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m down with a nasty head cold and slept through the event. These photos were a nice replacement for my stuffy-headed self. Thanks.

  5. Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Sloppy reporting by NPR: “The moon is on a 28-day cycle”.

    No, the mean period between Full Moons is 29.53 days. Fake Moons! Sad!

  6. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Sadly it was overcast here in Adelaide, so we couldn’t see a thing!

  7. Paul S
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Lovely pics, the third from Joe Dickinson would look good hanging on my wall.

  8. DrBrydon
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Good thing this happened at night, or all the rubes would have gone blind from staring at it. 😛

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    These things seem to have a peculiar effect on some folks:

  10. Stephen Caldwell
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Great pictures. I have to say I love Stuart Robbins moonset photo.

  11. Posted January 31, 2018 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful pics from everyone of the super blue blood moon! (hemocyanin supermoon?)

  12. Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Cool pictures! (All we had was cloud cover.)

  13. Diane G.
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Wow, nice pics, everyone! Thanks!

  14. Posted February 1, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    How very lovely!

  15. Andrea Kenner
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous photos!

  16. Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I managed to witness this, though it was overcast!


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