Earlier this week, we had a rare lunar spectacle in the form of the super blue blood moon. Many shutterbugs have flooded their social media accounts with a reddish full moon. It was a combination of blue moon, super moon and blood moon.
What are these terms mean anyway?
Blue moon refers to the additional full moon in a year; either the third full moon of a four full moon season or the second full moon of a month with two full moons. There is nothing blue about the moon. Then why it is called a ‘blue’ moon. Because it is rare… like once in a blue moon.
Blue moon occurs once in two to three years!
Blood Moon or Red Moon
The Moon does not have any light of its own. It shines because its surface reflects the sunlight.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned and the moon falls in the shadow of Earth.
When sunlight enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it strikes the atmospheric particles and gets scattered. Colors in the light spectrum with shorter wavelengths, violet and blue colours, are scattered away before the sunlight hits the surface of the Moon during a lunar eclipse. The red and orange colours in the light spectrum, because of their longer wavelengths, pass through the atmosphere, gets refracted around Earth and hits the surface of the Moon thus giving it the reddish-orange glow.
A supermoon is a full moon or new moon and appears particularly large in the sky when it is at its closest approach to the earth, the perigee.
The Moon orbits Earth in an elliptical path, which means one side of the path is closer to the Earth than the other. An opposite phenomenon called micromoon occurs when the moon is at its farthest approach to Earth, the apogee.