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21st Jan 2019

Super Blood Wolf Moon appears in the sky over Ireland

Alan Loughnane

super blood wolf moon ireland

A rare spectacle.

Stargazers in parts of Ireland who were lucky enough to be under clear skies have been treated to the astronomical spectacle of a “super blood wolf moon”, although you probably had to brave some freezing temperatures to do it.

The rare celestial event takes places when the moon is positioned slightly closer to the Earth than normal, and appears slightly bigger and brighter than normal, which is known as a super moon. During the total eclipse, the moon was expected to give off a coppery red glow on the lunar surface as it slips into Earth’s shadow, known as a blood moon.

“During a total lunar eclipse, white sunlight hitting the atmosphere on the sides of the Earth gets absorbed and then radiated out (scattered). Blue-colored light is most affected,” NASA officials wrote online.

“That is, the atmosphere filters out (scatters away) most of the blue-colored light. What’s left over is the orange- and red-colored light.”

Since this appears in January, when wolves used to howl in hunger outside villages, it earned the name wolf moon, according to The Farmers Almanac, making it a super blood wolf moon.

It’s expected to be the last blood moon for over two years, meaning astronomers were particularly interested in it, so while it was cloudy in some areas of Ireland, others got a good view of the spectacle.

“We’re going into this unusual lull in total lunar eclipses over the next couple of years,” said Tom Kerss, an astronomer from the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

“So this is a really good one to catch as it’s going to be a long time before you catch another one like this – we will have other lunar eclipses, we just won’t have anything quite as spectacular until May 2021.”

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