The second full moon of January passed through Earth’s shadow in a Super Blue Blood Moon eclipse on Jan. 31, 2018, a rare lunar sight visible to millions of observers around the world.
Its lunar eclipse was the first to coincide with a Blue Moon – a second full moon in one month – in North America in over 150 years. It was also the second “supermoon” of 2018, with the moon appearing slightly bigger and brighter than usual due to its closeness to Earth. And to top it off, the supermoon passed through Earth’s shadow this morning, casting a reddish hue on the lunar surface for more than 4 hours.
Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory, provided occasional commentary during the eclipse. When the moon was only seconds away from emerging from Earth’s inner shadow (the umbra), marking the end of totality, Krupp talked briefly about how various ancient cultures believed that lunar eclipses occurred because a being or creature was swallowing the moon.
In some of those cultures, people chanted and made loud noises to scare the creature away and free the moon. In honor of those ancient stories, Krupp led the crowd in a chant of “Dragon, be gone!” After about a minute, when a sliver of the full moon had emerged from the umbral shadow, Krupp announced to the crowd that the chant had been a success.
The next total lunar eclipse in North America will happen on Jan. 21, 2019.