WHAT THE HECK IS A BLOOD MOON, SOUNDS DANGEROUS...
It’s just a cool name for a lunar eclipse. Why blood moon you ask? Because during a lunar eclipse the moon goes a dark shade of red, which I suppose you could call blood red.
SPOOKY... BUT WHAT'S A LUNAR ECLIPSE?
Well usually, the moon is being shone on by the sun, which makes the moon a bright white.
WOAH WOAH WOAH, BUT IF THE SUN IS SHINING ON THE MOON WHEN WHY ISN'T THE WHOLE THING WHITE?
Because the moon goes around the earth which goes around the sun, it’s quite difficult and rare (ish) to get the entire moon shining white. Here’s why.
We see the moon when the sun is shining on it. The sun shines on only 1 side of the moon at a time because it’s physically impossible any other way. Depending on the positions of the earth, moon and sun at a certain time, we see different amounts of the moon shining white at different times as shown in the diagram above.
COOL! BUT YOU STILL HAVEN'T TOLD ME, WHAT IS A BLOOD MOON AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
(AND I STILL HAVEN'T FOUND WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR.. <-- CREDITS TO U2)
Ok ok. Well a blood moon is when the earth comes directly between the moon and the sun so no light can shine on it. This is quite rare because of how far away the earth is from the sun. For a blood moon to occur, the moon must be in the earth’s shadow, which is a very small area of the sky. The earth’s shadow is called the umbra.
I SEE.... BUT WHAT'S THE PENUMBRA?
It’s the area where only some of the light is blocked, and the moon appears a little dimmer than normal. But it’s not as interesting as the umbra so I’ll move on.
SO, WHAT WAS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS ECLIPSE?
Well for starters it was a total eclipse and not a partial eclipse. This basically means that the entire moon went red and not just a little slice. Then compounded on top of this rarity was the fact that this eclipse occured when the moon was very far away from the earth. This meant that this eclipse was the longest eclipse of this century. Cool hey!
I WAS VERY LUCKY TO SEE IT!
I watched it from Amsterdam, where the moon was barely above the horizon when the eclipse started. This meant that I missed the beginning of the eclipse because it was obscured by trees and buildings so I couldn’t see it. grr. But as the eclipse progressed the moon rose above the trees and I was able to see the maximum of the eclipse and the ending of the eclipse. Unfortunately though, I only had my phone on me so the pictures aren’t that good.
HERE'S A BETTER PHOTO TAKEN BY SOMEONE WITH A BETTER CAMERA
The lunar eclipse was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, I highly suggest you try to see one. Check this website to see when you can see the next one in your country!