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Holly's blog: Looking back at the 'super blood wolf moon'

In the early hours of Monday morning the moon glowed an eerie red over the skies of southern England.

This phenomenon is known as a 'blood moon' and happens when the moon enters the darkest part of the Earth's shadow, known as the umbra.

The blood moon over Herne Bay Credit: Paul Derby

Initially a slice of darkness crept its way across the moon's face before the rusty red glow marked the moment of eclipse totality.

During the partial eclipse over Eastbourne Credit: Gary Morton

The reason the moon goes red rather than disappearing entirely (as you might expect), is because a portion of light from the sun still reaches the moon but it gets scattered by the Earth's atmosphere.

In effect, we are seeing the red glow of all the sunrises and sunsets around the globe.

The phases of the eclipse Credit: Kirsty Paton

This explains the 'blood' part of the name, but what about 'super'?

Well that's because the eclipse coincided with the moon's closest approach to Earth.

The moon's orbit around the sun is elliptical and therefore moves nearer and further away during the course of a month. This full moon was actually a little larger in the sky than your average moon.

The moon glowing low in the sky over Bexhill-on-Sea Credit: Sharon Webster

Finally then, why is it a 'wolf' moon?

Well, this has a less scientific reason but is down to the fact that full moons are traditionally named depending on the month they occur.

January's full moon is known as a 'wolf' moon, because wolves howling at it are supposed to be particularly vocal at this time of year.

The rusty, red moon over Selsey Credit: Jean and John

Unfortunately due to cloud amounts the moon wasn't visible across all of the region. If you missed it I'm afraid you'll have to wait until May 2022 for the next total lunar eclipse!

The super blood wolf moon spotted over Southwick Credit: David Ashdown