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Right after sunset of January 31, 2018, a rare lunar phenomenon known as the Super Blue Blood Moon was seen at moonrise by numerous astronomy enthusiasts in the UAE.

Al Sadeem Astronomy (ASA) hosted a free open-observatory public viewing event at Al Sadeem Observatory wherein close to 300 people in total came and witnessed the first Super Blue Blood Moon in 150 years. Despite the predicted mostly cloudy sky and chilly condition throughout the observing period, everyone had a glimpse of the partially eclipsed moon and had it documented through pictures. The complete amazement was felt by everyone as it peeked through the clouds. After the eclipse viewing, a short astronomy talk all about the Moon and its interested phenomena given by resident astronomer, Aldrin B. Gabuya to the guests under the bright Supermoon.

What made this celestial event special was that three lunar phenomena took place simultaneously. First, it was an occurrence of a total lunar eclipse. With the Earth positioned in the middle of the Sun-Earth-Moon straight plane, sunlight passed through the Earth’s atmosphere, filtering out most of the blue-colored light, leaving the reddish hue color cast on the Moon.

Lunar Eclipse Diagram (Image Credit: Pacific Science Center)

Also, the Moon was on its “Supermoon” state. It appeared slightly larger (7%) and brighter (16%) than usual Full Moon due to the fact that it was at its closest distance from Earth, known as perigee. This happens mainly because of the elliptical (oval-shaped) orbit of the Moon around the Earth when it is at its closest approach.

The Moon Perigee and Apogee (Image Credit:

Size Comparison of Normal Full Moon and Supermoon. Images from Al Sadeem Astronomy

Lastly, it took place on a “Blue Moon”. The term “Blue Moon” is just a colloquial term for the second occurrence of a Full Moon in a single month. Mainly derived from old American lunar folklore, the Moon does not turn blue in color when it occurs.

As illustrated below, the entire super blue blood moon was seen in eastern Asia, southeast Asia, Australia, and western Americas. Because of the time difference, only the waning phases of the eclipse were observed in the UAE at moonrise.

Total Lunar Eclipse Visibility Map (Image Courtesy of Leah Tiscione/Sky and Telescope)

Key Event Timings per UAE Local Time of the Super Blue Moon Eclipse (Original Image Courtesy of Leah Tiscione/Sky and Telescope)

Below are the highlights of the said event.

In case you missed it, there will be another total lunar eclipse visible in the UAE on the late evening of July 27 until the early morning of July 28, 2018.

Thank you to everyone who joined us witness this “once in a Blue Moon” celestial event. Clear skies!

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