Dazzling Super Blood Wolf Moon Phenomenon
Sky gazers were treated to a rare lunar eclipse known as a super blood wolf moon on Sunday night, in which sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere lit the celestial body in a dramatic fashion and turned it red. Watchers in North and South America, parts of Europe and western Africa, who were lucky enough to have clear skies, saw a total lunar eclipse -- but eastern Africa and Asia observed a partial eclipse. The total lunar eclipse, which happens less than once per year on average, coincided at the same time as a super moon, which occurs when the moon is full and closest to Earth in orbit. The moon was in perfect alignment with the sun and Earth, with the moon on the opposite side of Earth from the sun. Earth cast two shadows on the moon during the eclipse. The penumbra is the partial outer shadow, and the umbra is the full, dark shadow. When the full moon moved into Earth's shadow, it darkened, but did not disappear. At the peak of the spectacle, sunlight passed through Earth’s atmosphere and lit the moon, making it appear to glow red. This happens because blue light undergoes stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color highlighted as sunlight passes through our atmosphere and casts it on the moon. So where does the ‘wolf’ part come in? Each moon has its own name associated with the full moon. In January, it’s known as the ‘wolf moon,’ inspired by the hungry animals that howled outside villages long ago, according to the Old farmer's Almanac.