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Three lunar events for the price of one

Lovers of all things astronomical can look forward to a rare celestial event on Wednesday when three lunar phenomena collide.

A super blue blood moon will be taking place – a spectacle that hasn’t been seen in the US since 1866.

UK based stargazers will be able to appreciate two of the trio of events – a supermoon and a blue moon.

But a lunar eclipse, which causes a ‘blood moon’ as it turns a reddish colour, will not take place in the UK.

The full spectacle – in which all three phenomena are visible at the same time – will arrive in Australia first, and will later be seen by much of Asia and America.

It will be most impressive in North America, Alaska and the Hawaiian islands just before dawn.


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Did you see the last supermoon?

The super blue blood moon features three different astronomical events.

Firstly, a blue moon is the name given to the second full moon in a calendar month.

Secondly, a supermoon is when the moon appears larger and brighter because it is closer to the earth than normal.

And thirdly, a blood moon occurs when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow, causing a total lunar eclipse.

This casts a shadow across the moon, giving it a red glow.

NASA will be livestreaming the event from three vantage points in California, Los Angeles and Arizona from 5.30am EST (10.30am UK time).

The 'supermoon' rises above Whitby Abbey in Yorkshire
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This is the third supermoon this month, here over Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire

In the Middle East, Asia, eastern Russia, Australia and New Zealand, it will be seen during moonrise in the evening.

Dr Gregory Brown, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, warned that the full spectacle will “definitely not be visible from the UK, not even a partial eclipse”.

But he said the best time to view the UK’s double whammy of a super blue moon is at around 12.40am, when the moon is at its highest.

Dr Brown said anyone keen to see a lunar eclipse in the British Isles should wait until 27 July, when there will be “a more spectacular view” of an eclipse than is visible elsewhere on Tuesday night.

The next super blue blood moon anywhere won’t be until New Year’s Eve on December 2028, according to NASA.

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