Eclipsed: My Experience Watching the ‘Super Blue Blood Moon’

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Eclipsed: My Experience Watching the ‘Super Blue Blood Moon’

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By Sonja Malek, Academics Editor

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It’s 4:45 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, and although I’d only fallen asleep a few hours before, I was prepared to have my mind blown with a rare celestial event that’s being called a ‘Super Blue Blood Moon:’ a total lunar eclipse, supermoon, and blue moon — all at the same time.

Back in August, we were all overtaken with eclipse fever when the Great American Eclipse, a total solar eclipse that crossed the entire United States from coast to coast, happened for the first time in nearly a century. It seemed that hardly anyone knew about today’s lunar eclipse event, though. This makes some sense, since lunar eclipses occur much more often than solar eclipses do. However, the combination of three things happening at once is what was supposed to make this eclipse especially interesting. Lunar eclipses occur when the moon passes directly behind the Earth, causing the moon to appear red (hence the term ‘blood moon’). Supermoons occur when the moon is closest to Earth in its orbit, causing it to appear much larger than usual. And ‘blue moon,’ of course, is what we call the second full moon of the month. All three at once should make for a good show, right?

The Super Blue Blood Moon was supposed to become visible in the Midwest at around 4:51 a.m. (or so I thought, more on that later). The catch was that the moon would be very low in the sky, so to view it well, you would need to have a pretty good view of the horizon. Maybe you see where this is going. At 4:45 I got out of bed and snuck down to the kitchen, doing my best not to wake anyone up during my nerdy escapade. I looked through windows on all sides of my house and saw… absolutely nothing. As in, no moon at all. Was it worth it to leave my house in my pajamas and walk a block or two to see beyond the houses in the way? 

My answer this morning was no. I was perfectly happy to go back to sleep defeated. After all, I had seen a full red moon before, although I hadn’t known it was a lunar eclipse at the time (like I said, they aren’t extremely uncommon). After what seemed like just moments of sleep, I woke up to someone else’s alarm going off at around 5:30. I decided to go back downstairs to see if I could catch a glimpse.

This time, the moon was in full view from my kitchen window. It was full and pretty big, and although it wasn’t red, it seemed to be almost shining around the edges, and the craters were very clear. After a few minutes I was too tired to continue standing and looking up alone in my kitchen, and figuring I would have at least a little bit to write about, I went back to sleep.

The following morning, I got ready and went to school as usual. People I talked to said they wished they had known about the eclipse, and to be quite honest, I wish I had been better prepared. Later in the day, I went back to the New York Times article I first heard about the event from, and found out that it was supposed to happen around 6:30 a.m., so that just goes to show that you should read more carefully before sacrificing your sleep for anything.

It was (dare I say it?) nice to get up early and enjoy the silence, and the view turned out to be pretty impressive, though not what I had hoped for. That said, I apologize for the misleading title.

Maybe next time I’ll just watch the livestream. You can check it out here, by the way.