Skygazers in parts of the UK 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.
Met Office forecaster Mark Wilson said: “There’s a lot cloud around, but there are some breaks to enjoy the lunar eclipse as well.
“Across lots of central England and northern England there’s quite a lot of lower cloud around, but there are still some breaks in cloud particularly over south-east England and parts of south-west England as well.
“It’s kind of a mixed bag – further towards the north there’s more in the way of cloud as well affecting parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, so probably not great visibility up there unfortunately.”
A super blood wolf moon occurs when a blood moon and supermoon happen simultaneously and was best seen from the UK at around 5.10am – providing clouds did not obstruct the view.
The optimum viewing time was at around 5.12am when the eclipse was at its peak.
Astronomers are particularly interested in this year’s blood moon as it is the last of its kind for two years.
“We’re going into this unusual lull in total lunar eclipses over the next couple of years,” explained Tom Kerss, an astronomer from the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
“So this is a really good one to catch as it’s going to be a long time before you catch another one like this, we will have other lunar eclipses, we just won’t have anything quite as spectacular until May 2021.”
While the supermoon and blood moon titles come from the brightness and reddish hue respectively, a full moon in January is sometimes called a “wolf” moon.