Associate artist Mandy Ratbone was up and about very early again (3am), this time to record the ‘super moon’ lunar eclipse.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes within Earth’s umbra (shadow). As the eclipse begins, Earth’s shadow first darkens the Moon slightly. Then, the shadow begins to “cover” part of the Moon, turning it a dark red-brown color (typically – the color can vary based on atmospheric conditions). The Moon appears to be reddish because of Rayleigh scattering (the same effect that causes sunsets to appear reddish) and the refraction of that light by Earth’s atmosphere into its umbra.
The following simulation shows the approximate appearance of the Moon passing through Earth’s shadow. The Moon’s brightness is exaggerated within the umbral shadow. The northern portion of the Moon was closest to the center of the shadow, making it darkest, and most red in appearance.