Blood moon draws skywatchers out

The Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse was visible around the world.
The Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse was visible around the world.

The total eclipse that passed over the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia early on Monday has thrilled the celestially inclined, who watched as the Earth moved between the sun and the moon.

Lots of people braved the cold in the Americas and northern Europe, where the best views could be had, to snap pictures of the moon.

The images were even more exceptional thanks to the fact that the moon was especially close to the Earth.

It was a "blood moon," named so due to the reddish-orange colour that the moon takes on during the eclipse.

The colour changes because small molecules that make up the Earth's atmosphere scatter blue light as sunlight passes through it, leaving behind mostly red light that bends, or refracts, into Earth's shadow.

Multiple people shared images on social media of an orangish-red moon, with many enthusiasts commenting on the cold they had endured or the hour they had to awake to get the shot.

"It may be 14 degrees outside right now (minus 10 degrees Celsius) in Pennsylvania, but I wasn't about to miss that," noted one Twitter user with the handle Just Kim.

They were balanced out by people complaining they couldn't see the moon due to clouds or those who got tired of waiting.

Website space.com estimated that millions of people across America turned out for the event.

Views were best in North and South America, though partial versions of the eclipse could be seen across large parts of the world.

But those who got to see it elsewhere seemed happy.

"We even had a pretty bright eclipse today," said Susanne Huettemeister, head of the planetarium in Bochum, Germany.

The potential viewing audience was 2.8 billion people.

Australian Associated Press