Yesterday, many around the nation started their mornings earlier than usual. Early morning, on January 31, the Super Blue Blood Moon occurred.
While a supermoon, blue moon and total lunar eclipse are not rare on their own, the trifecta of all three occurring at the same time is unique. This is the first time since 1866 that the Super Blue Blood Moon happened in North America. The view was best from the West Coast, which means people in California were be able to see the event from start to finish.
A supermoon is when the moon is closer to the earth’s orbit therefore making it appear larger. Today, it appeared 14 percent larger. A blue moon is a cultural term used for the second full moon in a month.
However, the term blood moon is quite literal because the blood appeared red. The red tinted appearance is due to the total lunar eclipse, in which the moon crosses paths with the earth’s shadow. The total lunar eclipse started at 3:48 a.m. PST. Totality began at 4:51 a.m. and ended at 6:07 a.m.
Understandably, this event garnered the attention of astronomy fanatics who were excited to witness it. “This is the last time a “Super-Blue-Total” lunar eclipse will occur in my lifetime!”said SF State Associate Professor of Astronomy & Physics, Christopher McCarthy.
According to NPR, this event was a great opportunity for NASA scientists to gain a better understanding of the moon’s surface. During the total lunar eclipse on Wednesday, scientists were able see possible locations to land a rover may be on a future mission.
The Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland had their observatory deck open from 3 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. free of charge for those interested in viewing this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
While clear visibility for the eclipse was not guaranteed due to the often foggy state of the San Francisco Bay Area, it was worth a try.
There was however was a closer viewing point for those in San Francisco (specifically the SF State area) looking to get the best view of the event. Aaron White, SF State graduate student and science communicator at the Academy of Sciences was excited for the moon sighting.
“The best viewing location is probably…from Ocean beach, where we get a clear view of the western sky with the least light pollution,”he said.
Cesar,19, SF State cinema major, said, “If I wake up, I might forget why I set the alarm and just go back to sleep,” in anticipation for the event. For some the decision to be a witness to this once-in-a-lifetime event will be a struggle and for others it will be easy.
Yesterday afternoon, Stephanie Martinez, 19, SF State history major, was set on watching the event. “It sounds really cool, I would love to witness history,” she said. Martinez like many others around the nation awaited anxiously for the lunar trifecta.
For those who couldn’t bear leave the comfort of their bed, NASA began broadcasting a live feed of the moon at 5:30 a.m. EST/ 2:30 a.m. PST on both NASA TV and NASA.gov/live.