As far as lunar events go, a single phenomenon usually draws crowds to gaze upwards at a specific time. But on January 31, the world was captivated by a rare lunar "trifecta" – where three phenomena occurred all at once.
The "super blue blood moon" was visible over several continents, comprising a total lunar eclipse, a super moon and a blue moon.
In some regions of the world, it was the first such event in 150 years – but not in the Middle East.
The last time this part of the world saw a super blue blood moon was on December 30, 1982.
Regardless, it's a rare event. Once in a (super) blue (blood) moon, some might say.
What is a super blue blood moon?
A super moon is a full moon that appears larger than usual, because the moon is at its closest distance to Earth. Of the dozen or so new moons that occur each year, two or three will become super moons.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind the Earth – into its shadow – and can only happen when the sun, Earth and moon are perfectly aligned, with the Earth in the middle. The last partial eclipse in the Emirates was in August.
This is not to be confused with a solar eclipse, which is when the moon is in the middle, blocking the sun.
As the moon takes its place in the Earth's shadow, it will take on a reddish hue – which is where the blood moon comes in.
A blue moon, although the subject of a popular idiom you've likely heard from your mother on the rarity of an event, is arguably the most common occurrence. Its two definitions are used almost interchangeably – as the third full moon in a season that has four full moons, or the second full moon in a calendar month – and it has absolutely no correlation to the actual colour of the moon.
Super blue blood moon in the UAE - in pictures
PODCAST: UAE in a minute for January 31, 2018