Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Super Blood Wolf Moon sighted around the world - in pictures

Stargazers from Los Angeles to New York had planned to gather at parks and observatories

Many lunar eclipse festivities were cancelled due to a flash freeze across the central and north-eastern US states on Sunday, with icy roads rather than cloudy skies blamed by astronomers for spoiling the party.

Stargazers from Los Angeles to New York had planned to gather at parks and observatories to keep their eyes on the sky for the total eclipse, known as a Super Blood Wolf Moon, expected to appear at 11.41pm Eastern Standard Time. Instead, professional and amateur watchers of the skies were urged to witness the celestial event streamed online at sites such as AstronomersWithoutBorders.org.

Days earlier, it seemed the biggest threat to the event would be cloudy skies but it turned out a wet, wide-ranging snowstorm followed by a deep freeze on Sunday made driving and outdoor activities too hazardous. Eclipse parties were cancelled from Indiana's Lemon Lake County Park to New Jersey's Rowan University.

"It's not the snow or cloudy skies, but rather the extreme cold, and what we fear may be hazardous travel conditions," said Pennsylvania's Carbon County Environmental Centre, scrapping its party in Summit Hill, Pennsylvania, 86 kilometres north-west of Allentown.

Although it is a total eclipse, the moon will never go completely dark but rather take on a coppery red glow - called a Blood Moon. It is also a full Moon that is especially close to Earth, called a Supermoon.

And since it appears in January, when wolves howled in hunger outside villages, it has also earned the name Wolf Moon, according to The Farmers' Almanac - a long-range weather forecasting publication.

If skies are clear anywhere in the United States on Sunday night, the spectacular total lunar eclipse will be visible with the naked eye.

Unlike a solar eclipse, which requires eye protection to safely enjoy the view, no extra measures need to be taken for hazard-free lunar eclipse watching.

Next chance for Americans to see a total lunar eclipse is 2022.

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The blood moon's red hue is the result of sunlight travelling through the Earth's dusty, polluted atmosphere, Fazekas said. The shorter, more pliable blue wavelengths of light are scattered outside the Earth's shadow and the longer, less bendable red wavelengths are refracted towards the moon.

Best viewing of the one-hour total eclipse will be from North and South America, with as many as 2.8 billion people able to see it from the Western Hemisphere, Europe, West Africa and northernmost Russia.

Updated: January 21, 2019 10:33 AM

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