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28 September 2015updated 01 Jul 2021 11:40am

What was so special about last night’s super blood moon?

Is the world ending? And other important questions. 

By Barbara Speed

Tired? That’s probably because you spent the early hours of this morning gawping at a larger-than-usual moon, and wondering why it wasn’t as pink as promised. At least you probably had more luck than that time back in March when you tried to see the eclipse and just got a faceful of cloud

But what’s so special about this moon?

First, it was very, very big. This is because it was a supermoon – a moon which is at the closest point in its orbit to earth. There are between four or six of these a year, but this is actually the largest of this year’s supermoons, as the moon’s orbit isn’t a perfect circle. 

This supermoon was particularly special, though, because it coincided with a lunar eclipse, which gave it its distinctive pink colour, and earned it the title “Blood Moon”. The last time this happened was in 1982; the next will be in 2033. 

It wasn’t very pink when I saw it…

The supermoon was around all night, but only became a “blood moon” at the point of total lunar eclipse. This is because the earth’s shadow is reddy-pink (a similar colur to a sunset), and in a lunar eclipse, the earth’s shadow blocks the sun from the moon’s surface. 

In the UK, you got the best views of the totally eclipsed moon at 2:47 am. 

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Does this mean the world is ending?

The coincidence of both a lunar eclipse and supermoon on the same night has sparked fears of a world-ending asteroid hitting earth at some point between 26 and 28 September. What became known as the “Blood Moon Prophecy” became so widely spread that NASA’s Near Earth Objects Department felt obliged to debunk it in a statement earlier this month.  

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