The Moon appears red in a lunar eclipse as sunlight is filtered through Earth's atmosphere (c) SPL

Picture copyright
SPL

Picture caption

The Moon seems pink in a lunar eclipse as daylight is filtered by Earth’s environment

The night time sky had a show in retailer on Wednesday 31 January, with a lunar occasion being referred to as the “Tremendous blue blood moon”.

For Australia, Asia and some parts of the US and Jap Europe, there was a lunar eclipse, because the Earth handed between the Solar and the Moon.

On the exact same night time, our solely pure satellite tv for pc entered the closest level to us in its elliptical orbit.

It’s also the second full Moon of the month, generally referred to as a blue moon.

The eclipse started at 10:51 GMT and ended at 16:08 GMT.

The phrase “blood” has been used to explain the deep pink color of the daylight that passes by Earth’s environment to light up our celestial neighbour.

Supermoon watching

This pink glow was produced by the identical impact that gave us blue skies and pink sunsets, Dr Shannon Schmoll, director of Abrams Planetarium in Michigan, stated.

“Some daylight is skimming by the Earth’s environment on its approach to the Moon, and it additionally will get refracted or bent in direction of the Moon a little bit bit,” she stated.

“So, we now have this strategy of filtering out the blue gentle and leaving the pink gentle to see.

“After which having that gentle bent a little bit bit towards the Moon.”

Dr Schmoll stated the coincidence of those three lunar occasions was a “good excuse to exit and take a look at the night time sky”.

“I do know some individuals didn’t just like the time period supermoon, since it is not all the time apparent how a lot greater it’s,” stated Dr Schmoll.

The supermoon ought to seem about 7% bigger than common and about 15% brighter.

However this explicit view of our satellite tv for pc, which stays the one object to which we now have despatched people past Earth, comes at a time of resurgence for lunar exploration.

Picture copyright
SPL

Picture caption

Russia, Europe, China and India are all planning lunar missions (c) SPL

Again to the Moon?

In December, US President Donald Trump introduced his intention to return to the Moon – directing Nasa to plan a crewed mission to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

India’s area company, ISRO, is ready to launch and land a rover on the lunar floor later in 2018. This 12 months must also see the launch of China’s Chang’e 5 mission, which goals to return Moon samples to Earth for the primary time since 1976.

Dr Katherine Pleasure, a lunar scientist from the College of Manchester, stated we have been now seeing a “international revival in lunar exploration” she hoped would lay the foundations for human exploration and a lunar base.

“We would even wish to know if there are areas in underground chambers that could possibly be used as subsurface places for underground bases that could possibly be shielded from the radiation surroundings,” she advised BBC Information.

The important thing to this new age of lunar science – significantly human exploration – Dr Pleasure stated, was worldwide collaboration, modelled on the method it had taken to construct and function the Worldwide House Station.

“That is what makes the Moon supreme – it is solely three days away,” stated Dr Pleasure.

“You are able to do all of these issues and plan forward for the place you’d go subsequent, however retaining that infrastructure across the Moon.”

In an online article about the event, Prof Tim O’Brien, from Jodrell Bank Observatory, in Cheshire, admits to being conflicted in regards to the pleasure surrounding the so-called supermoon, as a result of the distinction within the Moon’s obvious dimension might not be as dramatic because the time period would possibly make it sound.

However, he stated, we might nonetheless study a lot from the occasion.

“The main points of how the daylight we see mirrored from the Moon throughout eclipse has been altered, scattered and absorbed on its manner by our environment, and the way that is affected by, for instance, volcanic eruptions and even meteor showers, are nonetheless being studied,” he stated.

One factor all of the scientists I spoke to agree on is it’s price venturing out to search for on the night time sky at any time when it’s clear, as a result of each view of the Moon is tremendous.

Follow Victoria on Twitter

Wonders of the Moon is on BBC One on 31 January at 2100GMT

You may also like: