Look: Supermoon rises in UAE, wows residents

Total lunar eclipse of a 'blood moon' was visible in some parts of the world



Photo: Shihab
Photo: Shihab
by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 16 May 2022, 4:41 PM

Last updated: Mon 16 May 2022, 4:43 PM

People worldwide witnessed a glowing 'blood moon' on Sunday night and the early hours of Monday after a total lunar eclipse aligned the Sun, Earth and Moon to form a straight line. The total lunar eclipse, the first in 2022, was visible in much of Africa, Europe and South America, and most of North America.

Though the eclipse was not visible for UAE residents, thousands of sky-gazers looked up to see an unusually large Moon on Sunday night and Monday morning - and the celestial body also seemed closer to Earth.

On the US East Coast, the spectacle reportedly began at 9:32pm on Sunday (May 15; 0132 GMT on May 16). According to Space.com experts, "The lunar eclipse was the longest total lunar eclipse in 33 years."

Photo: Shihab
Photo: Shihab

Explaining the phenomenon earlier, Hasan Al Hariri -CEO, Dubai Astronomy Group and Director Al Thuraya Astronomy Center, said, "This eclipse is a full eclipse which turns the moon into a reddish colour and therefore it is known as the Blood Moon. This is quite a nice phenomenon to observe. This total lunar eclipse with a blood moon being visible once again will grace the sky after almost a year since the last total lunar eclipse."

This month's full moon is also known as Flower Moon, named after the wildflowers blooming in the Northern Hemisphere.

Photo: Shihab
Photo: Shihab

Al Hariri said, “The eclipse happens when the Moon goes into the shadow of the Earth. So, the Sun, Earth and Moon are in one line and the Moon gets eclipsed in this process. So, the light of the Moon becomes less, and it gets dark.

"But some of the scattered light that comes out from the atmosphere of the Earth reaches the Moon, and instead of making it totally black the Moon becomes reddish. That’s because the red light has more penetration properties than any other light. So, this makes the Moon [more] red in colour. There will be another eclipse on October 25 — a partial eclipse which will be visible from the UAE.”

Some children who were riveted to their binoculars waiting for the supermoon to adorn the night sky said it was an ethereal experience.

Year 8 student Amatullah Arsiwala said, “The Moon looked beautiful. I am interested in astronomy, and I’ve read that as the Moon rotates around the Earth in an elliptical orbit, it sometimes goes far, and sometimes comes close. This time it was close and therefore looked brighter and bigger. I feel there is something enigmatic about the Moon.”

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Experts say the term ‘supermoon’ is not an official term. It was first coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. He defined it as ‘a New or a Full Moon that occurs when the Moon is at or near (within 90 per cent) its closest approach to Earth in its orbit’.

Mohammed Matheranwala, a Year 7 student who is equally fascinated by the night sky and the Moon, says: “There is something awe-inspiring about this celestial body. We couldn’t see the reddish tint of the Moon from the UAE as the cosmic event was only visible from certain parts of the globe, but the big Full Moon, did look incredible.”


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