Super blue blood moon 2018: What you probably missed
Many Australian stargazers were left bitterly disappointed overnight as clouds blanketed their view of the super blue blood moon.
A total lunar eclipse turned the moon a brooding, dark red early this morning, with the eclipse coinciding with both a supermoon and a blue moon - for the first time in 150 years.
"Pretty much every night was clear and humid up until today, I'm so sad right now," one western Sydney Reddit user said.
"Was watching for about an hour but never even got a glimpse of the moon unfortunately," another added.
"Complete cloud cover on the upper north shore," another forum user said. "I got a glimpse of it at about 10:30 when the clouds parted for a second."
While clouds blanketed much of NSW, the ACT and South Australia last night, watchers in Perth and along the coast of Western Australia were treated to clear skies and the best views.
Those in Cairns and Townsville were also pretty lucky.
The total lunar eclipse - which is referred to as a blood moon because of the moon's red hue - is also visible across Asia, parts of Europe and the United States.
Why is it called a #SuperBlueBloodMoon?— NASA (@NASA) January 31, 2018
🌕Supermoon – When the Moon is at or near its closest point to Earth
🔵Blue Moon – The second full moon in a month
🔴Blood Moon – The red tint Earth’s shadow casts on the Moon during a lunar eclipse
Watch it live: https://t.co/OduDuvJhUP pic.twitter.com/lezmdEVHHv
A blue moon refers to a second full moon in a calendar month. "Tonight, we have three lunar events happening simultaneously; the moon will be at perigee (the closest point in its elliptical orbit to earth), it will be a blue moon for most of the world and - most spectacularly - it will be a total lunar eclipse," Penrith Observatory manager Raelene Sommer said last night.
Astrophysicist Alan Duffy said the random event is a rare trifecta, with the moon appearing bigger and a third brighter before it turns red when the moon passes into the earth's shadow and reflects the sun back at the earth.
Australians witness a total lunar eclipse about once every 2.8 years on average. But it becomes a true rarity when combined with a supermoon and blue moon.