Sky watchers got a rare sight on Wednesday morning, when the moon appeared over Cortez as a supermoon, a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse.
A supermoon is a moon that appears its largest to observers because its elliptical orbit is closer to Earth. Because Wednesday morning’s moon was the second full moon in one calendar month, it earned the familiar nickname “blue moon,” which occurs about every three years. January’s first full moon occurred Jan. 1.
But for a few minutes about 5:55 a.m. Wednesday, this blue moon turned a spectacular red as it became totally immersed inside Earth’s shadow, creating a total lunar eclipse. It was the first total lunar eclipse of a blue moon in the U.S. since March 1866.
The eclipse was visible from the West Coast to eastern Asia, but the best view was in the West. Sky watchers in the Midwest and East saw only a partial eclipse because the moon will set before totality.