Marina Del Rey
Image Credit:

An unusual set of celestial circumstances came together over Sunday night and the wee hours of Monday for sky watchers in Europe, Africa and the Americas, where the moon was fully obscured before lighting up again with a faint red glow.

190121 supermoon uae 1
Supermoon as seen from Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. The full moon appeared bigger than normal because it was closer to the Earth — about 358,000 kilometres away — earning it the nickname “Supermoon.” Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Brussels' Grand Place,
The "Super Blood Wolf Moon" is seen near a statue during a lunar eclipse on Brussels' Grand Place, Belgium. Image Credit: REUTERS
This combination photo
This combination photo shows the totally eclipsed moon, centre, and others at the different stages during a total lunar eclipse, as seen from Los Angeles. Image Credit: AP
190121 supermoon uae 3
Supermoon seen from Sharjah. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

It was also the year's first supermoon, when a full moon appears a little bigger and brighter thanks to its slightly closer position. During totality, the moon will look red because of sunlight scattering off Earth's atmosphere. That's why an eclipsed moon is sometimes known as a blood moon. In January, the full moon is also sometimes known as the wolf moon or great spirit moon.

City Life neighborhood, in Mila
A woman stands watching the full moon, at the City Life neighborhood, in Milan, Italy. Image Credit: AP
Cinquantenaire arch
The moon is seen beside statues on top of the Cinquantenaire arch during a total lunar eclipse, in Brussels, Belgium. Image Credit: REUTERS
190121 supermoon uae 4
Supermoon seen from Sharjah. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The January 21 total lunar eclipse will be the last one until May 2021, and the last one visible from the United States until 2022.

The eclipse takes place when the full moon is at or near the closest point in its orbit to Earth. This means the moon is deeper inside the umbra shadow and therefore may appear darker.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
People watch a blood moon from a rooftop of a planetarium during a lunar eclipse in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Image Credit: AP
Prague Castle
The "super blood wolf moon" is seen behind the Prague Castle during a lunar eclipse in Prague, Czech Republic. Image Credit: REUTERS
Cologne, Germany
The "super blood wolf moon" is seen during a total lunar eclipse behind the gothic cathedral in Cologne, Germany. Image Credit: REUTERS
190121 supermooon 5
Supermoon seen from Sharjah. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf New

The full Moon appeared bigger than normal because it was closer to the Earth - about 358,000 kilometers away - earning it the nickname "super Moon." Other monikers include a "Wolf Moon," a traditional way of coining an eclipse in the month of January, and a "Blood Moon" because of its rusty, red color. Hence the name for this year's event: a "super blood wolf Moon."

A composite photo shows
A composite photo shows all the phases of the so-called Super Blood Wolf Moon total lunar eclipse on Sunday, in Miami, Flaorida. Image Credit: AFP
Turets, Belarus
The "super blood wolf moon" is seen behind an Orthodox church during a lunar eclipse in the village of Turets, Belarus. Image Credit: REUTERS
Tours's cathedral, Central France.
The Super Blood Wolf Moon slips into Earth's dark umbral shadow during a total lunar eclipse above the Tours's cathedral, Central France. Image Credit: AFP

During a lunar eclipse, the Moon appears red because the light of the Sun no longer directly illuminates it, since Earth is passing in between the Moon and Sun. "The colour is due to Rayleigh scattering - where the Sun's blue light is scattered off molecules in Earth's atmosphere - which also happens at sunsets," explained the Royal Astronomical Society of Britain.

Prague, Czech
The "super blood wolf moon" is seen during a lunar eclipse in Prague, Czech Republic. Image Credit: REUTERS
A combination photo shows the moon
A combination photo shows the moon during a total lunar eclipse, in Brussels, Belgium. Image Credit: REUTERS

Total or partial lunar eclipses happen at least twice a year on average, Florent Deleflie, an astronomer at the Observatory of Paris-PSL says. It's just that they are not visible everywhere.

Orthodox Church in Moscow, Russia
A lunar eclipse progresses behind a Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, Russia. Image Credit: AP
The Statue of Freedom on top of the US Capitol
The Statue of Freedom on top of the US Capitol dome is seen silhouetted against the super moon in Washington, DC. Image Credit: AFP
People gather as they wait for the appearance
People gather as they wait for the appearance of a 'blood moon' total lunar eclipse over Vienna, Austria. Image Credit: AFP

It's a rare event when a total lunar eclipse is visible on so many parts of the Earth's land mass, as is the case Monday.

Europeans last saw a total lunar eclipse in July 2018. The next chance for a glimpse at a lunar eclipse will be in 2022, but the entire continent won't be able to see the totality of a lunar eclipse again until 2029.

London, Britain
The moon is seen just before full eclipse in the skies above London, Britain. Image Credit: REUTERS
Tijuana, in Baja
The US-Mexico border fence is silhouetted by the moon light in Tijuana, in Baja California state, Mexico. Image Credit: AFP

North Americans may get their next glimpse of a blood moon in 2021 along the West coast and 2022 on the East coast.

total lunar eclipse in Vienna
People monitor the moon ahead of a total lunar eclipse in Vienna, Austria. Image Credit: REUTERS
A lunar eclipse progresses
A lunar eclipse progresses behind statues on the roof of the State Hermitage Museum in St.Petersburg, Russia. Image Credit: AP
The moon slips into Earth's dark umbra
The moon slips into Earth's dark umbra shadow during a total lunar eclipse behind the Tours's cathedral, Central France. Image Credit: AFP
A composite photo shows all the phases
A composite photo shows all the phases of the Super Blood Wolf Moon total lunar eclipse, in Panama City. Image Credit: AFP
San Jose, Costa Rica
Earth's shadow almost totally obscures the view of the Super Blood Wolf Moon during a total lunar eclipse, in San Jose, Costa Rica. Image Credit: AFP