People around the world gathered to photograph and ogle the bright red glow of last night’s supermoon lunar eclipse. (Ralph Arvesen/Flicker)
Three hours of the lunar eclipse captured as the moon transitioned from silver to red over London, England. (Malcolm Park/Demotix/Corbis)
The supermoon makes an appearance above the Washington Monument. (Aubrey Gemignani/NASA/Flicker)
The moon makes a bloody halo for this statue in Venice. (Simone Padovani/XianPix/Corbis)
The ruby coloring of the moon rivaled for attention with the Trinity Church in Arendal, Norway. (Birgit Fostervold/Flicker)
The supermoon glitters over the Brooklyn Bridge, competing for attention with bright New York lights. (Julia Reinhart/Demotix/Corbis)
Passengers aboard this plane in Los Angeles, California, transit the sky E.T. style—with a glowing supermoon backdrop. (Ringo Chiu/ZUMA Press/Corbis)
The moon shows its ruby face above the Beacon Mill in Brighton, England. (Luke Dray/Demotix/Corbis)
Larger than life, the supermoon is projected in a planetarium in Madrid, Spain. (Marcos del Mazo/Demotix/Corbis)
The supermoon glows strong over Jerusalem. (Omer Messinger/NurPhoto/Corbis)
Shining 30 percent brighter than normal, the supermoon lights up the skies over the Mid-Autumn Festival in Korla City, China. (Imaginechina/Corbis)
The supermoon shines out over rubble in Gaza City. (Wissam Nassar/Xinhua Press/Corbis)
The supermoon peeks through the clouds behind a statue in Ryazan, Russia. (Alexander Ryumin/ITAR-TASS Photo/Corbis)

The Photos of the Rare Supermoon/Lunar Eclipse Convergence Do Not Disappoint

Take in the majesty of the unusual astrophysical event with these photos captured around the world

smithsonian.com

The moon left mouths agape around the world last night, larger and brighter than usual and glowing a melodramatic blood red—a spectacle that will not be seen again until 2033. This unusual occurrence was a rare mashup of a super-sized full moon and a total lunar eclipse, when the moon passes through Earth’s shadow. Even during a total eclipse, some of the sun’s rays filter through our atmosphere, leaving the moon with a spooky blood-red glow. Last night’s eclipsed moon was the last in a lunar eclipse tetrad, earning it the popular moniker "blood moon."

The greater size and brightness of last night’s supermoon can actually be seen at least once a year, when the full moon passes closest to the Earth in its elliptical journey around the planet. When the moon is in this position, called a perigee, it casts a silvery glow 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than when the orb is furthest away.

Though a supermoon or a lunar eclipse may not be rare on its own, the stars don’t often align for these events to occur in tandem. Since 1900, a supermoon lunar eclipse has only occurred five times, with the ruby orb last showing its enlarged face in 1982. 

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About Maya Wei-Haas
Maya Wei-Haas

Maya Wei-Haas is the assistant editor for science and innovation at Smithsonian.com. Her work has appeared on National Geographic and AGU's Eos and Plainspoken Scientist.

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