Residents of Japan were able to catch a glimpse of a total lunar eclipse on Wednesday evening for the first time in almost three years, made extra special as it also coincided with the latest supermoon for the country.
Skygazers were treated to a rare celestial show lasting around 20 minutes, with the full eclipse beginning from 8:09 p.m. and visible in areas with clear skies. According to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the shadow of the Earth started eclipsing the Moon at 6:44 p.m.
Twitter went abuzz with some users posting photos of the astronomical phenomenon, while others lamented they could not see it clearly because of cloudy skies in their areas.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon, blocking the Sun’s rays from directly reaching the natural satellite.
As the Earth’s atmosphere acts like a lens, the Moon will not be blacked out but appear in different shades ranging from bright orange to a darkish tint, depending on conditions such as atmospheric dust.
When the Moon makes its closest approach, known as a perigee, and it coincides with a phenomenon where the Earth, Sun and Moon are aligned, a supermoon appears. This results in the Moon appearing larger as viewed from Earth.
The next time a total lunar eclipse will be visible in Japan will be Nov. 8, 2022. The last time it was observed was in July 2018, but is it the first time since September 1997 that a total lunar eclipse has coincided with a supermoon in Japan.