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Super Blood Wolf Moon Appears Over America, Europe, Africa
By Chioma Okwu

Skygazers in parts of the USA, Europe, and Africa lucky enough to be under clear skies have been treated to the astronomical spectacle of a "super blood wolf moon".


The rare phenomenon, caused in part by a lunar eclipse, makes the surface of the moon appear a reddish hue while seeming brighter and closer to earth than normal.


Catching a glimpse of the curiously-titled event will be down to luck for those wrapping up and heading out early, as many parts of the country were covered by cloud on Monday morning.


In the streets of Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Paris and in the Moroccan desert, moon gazers turned to the sky to observe the phenomenon, around midnight in the Americas, and shortly before dawn in Europe and Africa.


The eclipse lasted about three hours: during the first hour the full moon was gradually swallowed up by the shadow of the Earth, then an hour of total eclipse where it was not invisible but instead appeared tinted in hues of red, orange and pink, followed finally by its full reemergence, bright and shining.


The full Moon appeared bigger than normal because it was closer to the Earth — about 222,000 miles (358,000 kilometers) away — earning it the nickname “super Moon.”


Other monikers include a “Wolf Moon,” a traditional way of coining an eclipse in the month of January, and a “Blood Moon” because of its rusty, red color. Hence the name for this year’s event: a “super blood wolf Moon.”


At its peak, where night skies were clear of clouds, Venus and Jupiter shone brightly in the night sky.


Not everyone was fortunate: in London, for example, astronomy enthusiasts hopes were dashed by a cloudy night.


Why red? 


During a lunar eclipse, the Moon appears red because the light of the Sun no longer directly illuminates it, since Earth is passing in between the Moon and Sun.


“The color is due to Rayleigh scattering — where the Sun’s blue light is scattered off molecules in Earth’s atmosphere — which also happens at sunsets,” explained the Royal Astronomical Society of Britain.


“The Sun’s red light is scattered much less by air, and is bent by Earth’s atmosphere in a process called refraction, traveling all the way through it to light up the Moon’s surface.”

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