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Stargazers get once in 30 years chance to watch moon turn blood red in giant 'supermoon' lunar eclipse

Moon set to turn red in giant 'supermoon' lunar eclipse Photo: PA

Stargazers will be able to watch a once in 30 years phenomenon when a giant 'supermoon' turns red when it combines with a lunar eclipse.

The eclipse will start just after 1am on Monday morning, about 8pm in America (EDT).

Scientists say the moon will swell by more than 14% and turn red as it falls under the shadow of the Earth.

The last 'supermoon' lunar eclipse was in 1982.

The so-called 'blood moon' is expected to last an hour an 11 minutes and will be visible in Europe, North and South America, Africa, parts of West Asia and the eastern Pacific.

Weather permitting, the supermoon should be visible 1am, with the total eclipse starting at 3.11am. EDT, peaking at 3.47am.

A 'supermoon' happens when it comes closer to the earth called 'perigree'. Credit: Nasa

A 'supermoon' happens when it comes closer to the earth called 'perigree'. Credit: NasaNasa scientists said that during a lunar eclipse, the moon appears less bright as sunlight is blocked by the Earth’s shadow.

The moon does not make its own light, but reflects the light it receives from the sun.

but as totality draws to its conclusion, sunlight reaches the moon indirectly and is refracted around the “edges” of Earth, through Earth’s atmosphere.

Credit: Nasa

This means almost all colours except red are “filtered” out, and the eclipsed moon appears reddish or dark brown.

The filtering is caused by particles in the earth's atmosphere, so if there have been a lot of fires or volcanic eruptions, lunar eclipses appear darker and redder.

The eerie, but nonetheless harmless effect, has is nicknamed a “blood moon”.

US space agency Nasa plans to stream the eclipse live from Marshall Space Flight Centre in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Nasa live feed will also broadcast views of the eclipse from the Griffith Observatory, the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Fernbank Observatory in Atlanta and other locations across the US.

Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will wait as Earth blocks out the sun and the moon goes dark.