A cherry moon in a cold sky kept skywatchers looking up Sunday (Jan. 20) as the moon passed into Earth's shadow. This "blood moon" eclipse is the last for North America until 2022, so Space.com's Steve Spaleta has compiled a video supercut of the imagery from one of the webcast feeds of the eclipse.
Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi ran a livestream from the Virtual Telescope Project during the eclipse, incorporating footage from spots in North and Central America from the project's location in Ceccano, Italy. While the eclipse took place over several hours, the supercut compresses the project's footage to less than a couple of minutes. That's enough time to see the moon go into shadow, turn red and then emerge again.
The imagery eclipse team included astrophotographers Joaquin Fabrega Polleri, Panama; Gary Varney, Florida; John W. Johnson, Nebraska; James McCue, New Mexico; and Ron Delvaux, Arizona. [Amazing Photos of the Super Blood Wolf Moon of 2019!]
In a description of the eclipse written on the Virtual Telescope website before the event, Masi said the aim was to share with viewers "the stunning beauty of such a unique event." The eclipse, he added, took place during a supermoon — when the moon is at the closest point of its orbit around Earth. It made the eclipse "even more fascinating," he wrote.
A blood moon takes place when the moon passes fully into the deepest part of the Earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse. There, the moon only receives red light filtered through the edges of Earth's atmosphere. There are other kinds of possible lunar eclipses, such as a partial eclipse (which happens when the moon goes partially into the deep shadow) and a penumbral eclipse (when the moon passes into the lighter part of Earth's shadow, barely darkening at all).
Although there are no total lunar eclipses worldwide until 2021, and none in North America in 2022, there will be a variety of partial and penumbral lunar eclipses to enjoy. You can get more details on how lunar eclipses work at this Space.com article.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace